Digital Wellness: how to use technology better

Wellness is also digital: making the best use of technology for your own wellbeing is essential for a return to a healthier lifestyle. There are numerous international studies which show that smartphones obsession (better known as nomophobia), the desire to remain in constant contact with what others do (the fear of being disconnected), the terror of being excluded from an event or a social context ("fomo", or "fear of missing out") are real forms of digital obsession and compulsion.

Digital wellness first and foremost

The future is what we build

Words from Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web. An admission that, albeit indirectly, Google shares, stating - through the voice of its CEO Sundar Pichai - that "it is obvious to consider technology a powerful force, but it is equally clear that we cannot be naive in this field.”

Feeling "a deep sense of responsibility in doing everything at its best", Google launched Digital Wellbeing, a wide-ranging initiative structured in a series of apps and tools to stem the dependency on technology, reducing the time you spend with your smartphone in your hand (the danger is to run into a real addiction to smartphones) and making sure that, this time, is well spent.

Digital Wellbeing, Google's digital wellness

Helping users find a balance between real life and digital life. Achieving digital wellness is the goal that the feature set Digital Wellbeing has been programmed with, which includes Google Digital Wellbeing Shush, a function through which Android P - the new version of the Android operating system - automatically mutes both calls and notifications once you flip the phone facing down. In this way, you will not have to "activate" (stress) by pressing any button or scrolling through the menu settings.
It’s known that one should avoid tablets and smartphones before sleeping. Here comes to the rescue the Google Digital Wellbeing Wind Down (Relax), a function that, at a given time, progressively shifts the screen towards a greyer scale, making sleep easier; despite being a more advanced feature, it recalls the classic night mode on Android.

How many times a day do we check our smartphones? The answer comes from Google Digital Wellbeing Dashboard Data View, which allows you to get a personalized data view on the actual use of your phone: from the number of times it was checked during the day to the number of push notifications received.

iPhone addiction, Apple offers new solutions

"We spend too much time with our smartphone in hand. We would never have wanted people to abuse our products. We wanted people - thanks to our devices - to do things that would otherwise be impossible”. So stated Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, a strong supporter of the equation that "if you spend all your time on your smartphone, then you're wasting your time”. The new iOS 12 operating system has thus created new functions for digital wellness and awareness when using the iPhone.

We spend too much time with our smartphone in hand. We would never have wanted people to abuse our products.

Not just Digital Wellbeing. The company from Cupertino puts in place a series of tools to limit the phenomenon of smartphone addiction (especially when we talk about smartphone addiction for children). For instance, Screen Time on iOS 12 provides useful information about the time spent in apps and portals.
Screen Time is very useful for families with children, as well as the "Do not disturb when in bed" mode, which reduces the brightness of the display, not revealing notifications on the lock screen until otherwise requested. Not to mention that, to help you reduce distractions, iOS 12 offers a number of options to govern the reception of notifications: from managing them instantly, to turning them off in their entirety, or opting to redirect them to the notification centre.

How much time do we spend on social networking? Facebook responds

How can we make the best use of technology? Google's Digital Wellbeing project, Apple's iOS 12 tools and apps for reducing smartphone dependency are not the only initiatives on the subject. Social networks are also taking action to limit their dependence on technology. This is the case with Facebook, which has decided to introduce the Your Time on Facebook function, in order to calculate the time spent by users on the popular social network. Currently being tested, Your Time on Facebook is a hidden feature within Facebook's Android app, and is able to calculate the total time users spent on the world's most popular social network over the last seven days, also providing a weekly average.

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