Ninety-eight percent of American adults owned a smartphone in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center website. A lot of college students own a cell phone because they need it for work, to stay in contact with their family and friends, social media and many other reasons. Many college students, though, are becoming so blinded by all this technology that they don’t realize how much they are on their phones.
“I feel like I am on my phone anywhere from four to five hours a day,” Sarah Wood, junior in communications sciences and disorders, said.
In light of this, some technology developers are working to reduce the power phones hold on us. BreakFree is an app for Android users that will help you maintain a controlled lifestyle when using your cellphone. According to their website, It monitors your app and phone usage and tracks how much time you are on your phone. This app allows you to manage time such as disabling the Internet, rejecting calls and sending auto reply messages so that you aren’t distracted from the real world.
Moment is an app for iPhone users, similar to BreakFree, that will help you maintain a healthy phone usage lifestyle. According to Moment’s website, the app can allow you to set limits for the amount of time you are on your phone, and then when you go over that limit, it will notify you.
Julea Pikus, sophomore in pre-nursing, said she thought Moment was useful for those obsessed with their phones.
“It’s a good app for people who are on their phones for excessive periods of time and is a good way to monitor your own usage and make changes,” Pikus said.
Sarah Lewis, sophomore in communication sciences and disorders, said she tried out the BreakFree app for a couple weeks to see if it could actually help her with her phone usage. The first week she reported being on her phone for a total of 18 hours. After seeing how much she had been on her phone, she said she was shocked.
“I was completely surprised at how much I used my phone,” Lewis said. “I was embarrassed to actually see the final number at the end of the week.”
Miranda Boatwright, sophomore in accounting, said she tried Moment for a few weeks and shared Lewis’s feelings.
“I was shocked to see how much I used my phone, I felt guilty every time I got on my phone because I didn’t want that number to get any higher,” Boatwright said.
Miranda spent a total of 21 hours and 34 minutes on her phone for the first week. By the next week, both students tried to lessen their time on their phone by seeing where they spent most of their time on their phone and what days they were on their phone the most from the previous week.
“I tried to use my phone less during classes, because that was when I was on my phone the most,” Lewis said.
Boatwright said she decided to use the app’s features to lessen her time spent on her phone.
“I created daily limits so I could set aside time for homework and friends,” Boatwright said. “It really did work, I could see a huge difference in how much I was on my phone just by having those reminders to tell me when to get off of it.”
Both girls said they saw change within that one week of the amount of time they spent on their phones. Boatwright reported only being on her phone for a total of 12 hours that week, while Lewis reported being on her phone for 10 hours and 20 minutes.
When asked how their experience with these apps were, both said they agreed that everyone should try these apps out, even if it’s just for a week.
“Our lives are so connected to technology, text messaging and social media, that sometimes we don’t even realize how much it truly is consuming our day,” Lewis said. “This app really allowed me to see where I could make some changes and by the next week, I was a lot happier with my results.”