Smartphones have radically changed the way we live our lives. For the most part we would argue that these changes have been positive, but, as with any new technology, there is always a dark side to consider.
There are a lot of health issues, both physical and mental, when it comes to using (or rather misusing) our mobile devices. That’s why companies like Google that create operating systems for tablets and smartphones have begun to introduce digital wellness features into their software.
If you are an Android user with Android Pie or later, you have access to these features. Let’s see what digital wellness is for Android and how to use it to improve your life.
Where can you find digital well-being?
It sounds like a philosophical question, but we mean where the real parameters lie. The answer is that you will find digital well-being in your Android settings. It’s usually in the main setup menu, though you’ll have to scroll down a bit in most cases.
Because all Android phone manufacturers tend to customize their version of Android, the exact menu structure may vary. If you’re having trouble, try using the system-wide search feature to find the feature.
Digital well-being begins with Insights
Before you know if you are using your device in an unhealthy way, you need to explain the usage patterns. This is one of the basic digital wellness offers on Android. Keep track of how you interact with your phone and what apps you spend your time with.
Of course, this data means nothing without context. However, it gives you a bird’s eye view of what you do with your phone over time.
If you spend a lot of time with Social media applications, without significant performance occurring, could be a problem. If, on the other hand, you only spend an entire day doing a show you enjoy on Netflix, it can be an example of personal time for you.
Defining total screen time goals
Identifying that certain specific apps are catching your time is probably the best way to manage your digital well-being in a nuanced way, but if you’re only concerned about total screen time, it’s very easy to keep track of it.
Just below the breakdown of daily phone usage, you’ll see the total amount of screen time or day so far. If you select the button below the timer, you can set a goal for the total amount of screen time you want to limit.
If you exceed this limit, nothing happens, except that your phone tells you that you need a break.
You can also check the performance you have had throughout the week. To delete or change a goal, you can select the three dots at the top right of the screen and make the appropriate choice.
Limiting individual applications with application timers
If you feel like spending too much time with specific applications, you can use the application timers feature to set the time you spend with that application over a 24-hour period, which resets at midnight.
If you open the application timer section of the digital wellness screen, you will see a list of eligible applications that can be organized by name, screen time, or timer duration. Suppose you don’t want to spend more than 30 minutes a day in Slack. Hey, who could blame you?
To limit this application, search for it in the list of application timers or search for it using the search button at the top of the screen. Once you find it, just select the file hourglass icon to the right of the application name. Then select how long you want to limit yourself to the day.
If you exceed this limit, the application will pause. Its icon will turn gray and all notifications will pause until the timer is reset. Of course, you can extend the limit at any time if you want.
Use focus mode to get things done or get some time
The typical smartphone has many applications that constantly compete for your attention. It can be a chore to manage all of these notifications individually and simply put the phone in Do Not Disturb mode throws the baby with the bath water.
- That’s where the focus mode comes in. Allows you to close notifications except whitelisted applications. When you open focus mode for the first time, you’ll find two prefabricated focus modes for you to try under the name “Working Time” and “Me Time.” You can edit these two modes to suit your needs and you can add more custom modes for the scenario you want.
You can set the focus mode to end at a certain time or to end when you turn it off manually. When you’re done, you’ll receive a summary of everything you missed while activated. Just remember to add your favorite music app to the list. Music always helps us concentrate!
Use the sleep mode to sleep better
One of the most important concerns about the use of smartphones and tablets has to do with altered sleep patterns. That’s all the reason why phone manufacturers have started putting blue light filters and other features that make you less likely to sleep poorly on phones.
When you turn it on, the phone screen will gradually disappear until it turns gray and the phone will go into something very similar to Do Not Disturb mode. Make sure you get those much needed hours in the bag.
Protect your ears with the volume monitor
Hearing loss is a common problem that occurs through long-term high-volume sound exposure. Currently, all smartphones will warn you about too high volume levels, but the volume control feature keeps track of the volume levels you are exposed to over time, giving you a more accurate picture of whether you need to go down from 11 for a change.
Resistance is useless
Smartphones and other mobile devices are here to stay, so it’s up to us to find a balance between getting useful service from these devices and being enslaved to them. Tools like the digital wellness suite built into Android make it easy to visualize our habits and provide us with the tools to regain control of digital wellness. Now just take the first step.