We adopted technology fast but haven’t adapted to it in a way that doesn’t disturb our wellbeing. Not so fun fact is that, by some reports, addiction to smartphones is actually on par with an addiction to drugs. Many industry professionals and renowned researchers have dire claims about the negative long-term effects that technology (social media in particular) have on our everyday lives. With that in mind, Google and OEMs integrated Digital Wellbeing so we’ll try and explain what it is and how to use Digital Wellbeing on Android.
What is Digital Wellbeing?
The term itself has a broader meaning and it considers the personal wellbeing of human beings when using technology. Although, definitions vary. Matter-of-factly, Digital Wellbeing is something all of us should look into.
There are many scientists and organizations trying their best to educate users around the world about the effects that digital services have on the user’s physical, mental, and emotional health.
Well, a couple of years ago when all of this got major traction, Google and manufacturers decided to incorporate an app that will help you get a better understanding of your usage. In addition, these apps bring controls to help you limit the usage of certain apps, disconnect for a bit, or reduce interruptions.
The exact name of the app may vary but you can usually find it in the main settings. Once you allow it access to your usage statistics, it will track the time you spend in apps, how many times you unlock your device, or how many notifications come through. This all is just so Android users can have a better insight into how exactly are they using their devices.
How do I use Google Digital Wellbeing?
Besides the aforementioned statistics part that informs users about their usage and the time they spent on the phone, there are features that help you to limit that usage. You can pause certain apps for a certain period of time. You can also enable Bedtime mode, or the Focus mode to prevent distractions. Again, naming varies but most OEMs have this incorporated in one way or the other.
For example, ZenMode on OnePlus devices, once you enable it and choose the time period, completely locks down access to your device. You can actually download it from the Store, here. So, if you set it to, say one hour, that’s an hour without distractions.
Google and some OEMs like Samsung who adopted its Digital Wellbeing have the Focus mode which does a similar thing. The main difference is that you get to select which apps to shut down. And you can disable it when you deem it necessary. Some might disagree, but we prefer the ZenMode in this case, especially if you are determined to keep away from your phone for some time.
Here’s how to use the Focus mode on Android:
- Open Settings.
- Select Digital Wellbeing & parental controls and allow Usage access to Digital Wellbeing when the pop-up appears.
- Tap on the Focus mode.
- Check the boxes next to the apps that you want to pause. The shortlist usually contains the most-used apps but you can expand it to all apps.
- Tap Turn on now or schedule the Focus mode for a later time.
Another option available in Digital Wellbeing is the Bedtime mode. Once you configure and enable it, it will automatically switch to greyscale (black and white screen) and enable Do not disturb. With the lack of colors, researchers claim, users are less tempted to use the device. Of course, the DND is self-explanatory: no push notifications equals less need to check on your phone. You can sleep without distractions.
Here’s how to enable the Bedtime mode on your Android:
- Open Digital Wellbeing from Settings.
- Tap Bedtime mode.
- Set up the Bedtime mode by choosing the time you go to bed and when you get up.
- Alternatively, you can set it to start once you put your device to an overnight charging past 9 PM.
Options may vary and these modes are not available on some Android skins but the overall idea is there. The idea is to have a better understanding of the time you spend on your device and within individual apps. And, based on that information, you can take better care of your digital wellbeing. As all of us should.
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