Technology is awesome. Yay tech! In so many ways it helps us, moves us forward, makes things easier.
But there is this one little device we use all the time, we take with us everywhere, and we feel completely lost without: THE PHONE. It’s crazy how much time we spend on it, and our kids too—even in the grocery store mine are watching it and playing games on it! On the one hand I’m kind of sick of these phones being in everyone’s faces all the time, and on the other hand, we all do have certain times we just have to be on them.
I can’t be the only one stuck in this feeling like I need my phone for everything, but also need to reclaim my life?! I mean, right? Tell me it isn’t just me. I went searching for some apps to help–ironic that I would look to the source of my torment for a solution, I know. #sigh.
Here are a few apps I found that actually made a difference in our screen time as a family. The ones I feel like are actually more helpful than they are addicting. The ones helping me feel like I’m in charge of the phone, instead of feeling like a slave to it.
These apps are actually helping me put my phone DOWN, which I have to admit is a nice break. And they’ve been helpful for my kids and their phone usage too!
Firs up, Momenet. It tracks your screen time daily. When I heard of it I thought “ahh, great for my kids, but im not downloading it”. I truly had no desire to see how much time I spent scrolling, and preferred at first to avoid the awful truth (facepalm).
I caved and got it too, and I had my kids put it on their phone, with lots of propaganda : “Hey guys, this is totally gonna be fun and hold us all accountable…” Daddy even got it after a few days…
Ya’ll this app was so good!
We discovered the good, the bad and the ugly. We are spending so many hours on the phone. In fact I can’t even tell you how many hours because if i say it, well, you’ll judge me. I judge me. It kinda makes me nauseous.
This eye-opening app is awesome, and it helped me get my screen time under control. It tells you what percentage of your waking hours are spent on the phone (yikes), and how many times your phone has been picked up. It’s 5:01 and ive picked my phone up 67 times today (OHMYGOSH!). The paid version will track your most used apps, so you can see the main culprits stealing your time, and theres even a phone bootcamp if you wanna get serious about less screen-time. I’m not sure I’m ready for that yet. The hour count of my phone time was enough to scare me straight, for now anyway. Much like an intervention I’ll probably have to hit rock bottom first, but hey, the lifeline is there if we “need” it, right?! 🙂
I personally love this one, but is also AWESOME for teens, family time, and productivity in general. You plant a tree, and put your phone down for a set amount of time. Leave your phone alone, and the tree grows. Leave the app before the timer goes off, your tree DIES. And it’s cumulative, so you can look back over the course of the week and see your “forest” growing. I don’t know why this little virtual tree farm is so compelling, but it is. The screen gives you little reminder phrases like “Put your phone down” and “Go back to your work!” Those phrases are customizable, and there’s even a way to create a room, and invite people to join you, getting everyone in on the put-down-your-phone fun.
Sure, you could set a timer, but this is so much better! You can earn credits by successfuly planting tress in the app, and then use those credits to plant real trees! It’s great not just for getting homework done or tasks finished, but also awesome at the dinner table, during family game night, or when certain someones are supposed to be cleaning their room.😉 We’re planting trees all the live-long day over here!
This one is not so much about putting the phone down, but it is a great way to track your more productive habits over time. Exercise, Reading, Meditating, Journaling… you can enter in any goal or habit, and choose how you want to track it (target number of times, as part of a project, as a habit, etc). Strides keeps track of it for you, and reminds you to log it. Progress bars give you a visual of if you’re on track or not. It’s proved especially helpful with my goal of reading every day, and I think in general if there’s a new habit or activity you want to start, or if you feel like you want to make progress or improve in a certain area of your life, this app is perfect.