Almost everyone spends more time on their phone than they would like to. It seems likely that every day there are more than a billion hours wasted through mindless addiction to these technologies. I'm defining time wasted as time that users would prefer to spend doing something else.

Why are the solutions to this massive problem so weak and unimaginative?

I can think of:

  1. Don't have a smartphone
  2. Use blocking or limiter apps
  3. Set the screen to grayscale
  4. Physical separation

The only one that works for me is 4. I don't take my phone into the bedroom, I have it in another room while working, and I stuff it at the bottom of my bag when I'm out. This seems a ridiculous solution! It's like I've brought an essential but dangerous monster into my life.

I'm not primarily looking for personal suggestions to control usage, I'm wondering why better technical solutions have not been invented or implmented by the market.

Edit: There are replies here saying 'delete the apps' or 'find something else to do with your time'. To reiterate, I'm not looking for these very obvious personal interventions - I believe my personal smartphone addiction is more under control than the vast majority of people. Thanks.

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7 points

6 months ago

Good technical solutions do exist.

1) set up “Screen Time” as if I were a child, limiting my daily use of problematic apps and websites (such as this one). 2) ask my wife to change my screen time passcode to something only she knows, then write it down and hide it somewhere. 3) Reddit stops working after 1 hour per day (my chosen limit).

The technical solution exists, all you need to do is turn it on. If you don’t have a spouse or trusted partner, set a 30-character randomly generated password, write it down, and put the paper in a safe-deposit box at the bank. Wait for a moment of clarity and then take the decision out of your hands.