Last year in iOS 12, Apple introduced a handy new feature called Screentime. Screen Time allows you to monitor your own usage of your smartphone and see which apps you use the most, as well as which ones cause the most notifications. Smartphones can be powerful tools for learning and work but they can also be powerful distractors.
Being able to look at actual data over your usage, or that of a student/child, can lead to some powerful reflection over current and desired usage. There is no ideal ratio for productivity to relaxation when using a smart device, there are times when we can see the current usage is not having the outcomes that we want, for ourselves or others.
I use Screen Time as a parent to monitor and control my 8 year old’s usage. I do not just lock things down but instead will have conversations with him to help him better understand how our usage can affect us. While I have more restrictions over his use than I would a teenager, we have already started having those conversations to help him eventually become a more effective user of technology.
Screen Time is built into every iOS device, as long as it has iOS 12 or above. Just go into your settings and check out the data about yourself or your kids. Use this data to have conversations with them or use it in the classroom during a lesson on digital citizenship. Apple has a good info page all about Screen Time at https://support.apple.com/guide/iphone/set-screen-time-allowances-and-limits-iph9b66575d5/ios but you can also watch the video below to hear how I use it with myself and others.
(Android has its own version called Digital Wellbeing but it is not out for every Android device, but you can learn more about it at https://www.engadget.com/2018/11/20/google-rolls-out-digital-wellbeing-android)