New Apple Screen Tracking Feature Data Surprises Students

By Aubrie Wise

Junior Editor-in-Chief

After the newest iPhone update, people across the nation are receiving a notification every Sunday night from Apple reporting how much time they spent on their phones that week.

The Screen Time Feature released by Apple tracks how long a person is on their phone, what apps they are on, the amount of notification they get, and even how many times they pick up their phones in a day.

“It’s all part of a greater push by tech companies to mitigate the ways personal devices are engineered to be addictive, by creating all kinds of new ‘digital wellness’ features,” says Pia Ceres in WIRED. “Similar features showed up on Facebook and Instagram this summer, and Android’s own set of screen time tools are currently in beta on Android Pie.”

So how much time do people really spend on their phones? After surveying a group of sophomore students, the answer seemed clear- a ton. Around 7 hours a day seemed to be the average for time spent on their phones a day, and paired with an average of 140 pickups (amount of times a user physically picks-up phone and looks at it) it’s not surprising.

So are users spending too much time on their phones? Maybe, but Apple seems to have a solution for this. Apple now allows people to set limits on how long an app can be open a day and schedule “Downtime” away from the screen.

During the Downtime feature, only certain apps that the user chooses can be used. The hopes for this feature is to allow users to take time away from the screen and focus on other aspects of life.

Another new feature that comes along with Screen Time is Screen Time for Family, which allows parents to set restrictions on their child’s phone. With this feature, parents can access the same data the Screen Time feature has available for their children’s phones including how much time they spend on their phones and what apps they are using.

The part of this feature that is scaring children across the nation is, however, that the parents can even set the Downtime feature on their children’s phone, and restrict them from playing on apps during certain times of the day or even set time limits for how long they can be on their screen.

If anything, the Apple Screen Time feature is showing how far technology has come and just how dependent people are on their phones.

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