Tim Cook, the current CEO of Apple, claims to have stumbled upon the same issue millions of millennials and zoomers have been constantly called out for by their elders. Cook claims that he had to limit notifications on his own Apple products in order to relieve himself of them. This author would make an quip about the irony of being a slave to a literal machine, but that would be in poor taste. Instead, we shall prattle on about screen time and Apple’s stance on the subject.
A large chunk of the average person’s social life now exists online. In the form of icons such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, we tap and swipe our way through headlines, trends, updates on what our friends are up to, opinions, and debates. Our WhatsApp groups keep everyone in touch constantly, as we update stories with pictures to project our everyday happenings online. The point is not that such behavior is bad, not at all. Calling all screen time “bad” and using phrases like “in my day, we just talked to people in person” will not only alienate the newer generations, but also ignores the fact that communication will always evolve and change. This is simply how things are now, neither for better, nor for the worse.
However, social media is so easily accessible that prolonged hours on it can often leave a person drained and tired. With our phones constantly by our side, and notifications peering out at every glance, it really does feel like a sort of mild sensory overload. After all, not all this information is constantly pertinent. We could all do without our phone pinging with notifications that can be addressed later. This very realization is what led Tim Cook to simply take a razor blade to his notifications, as he stated in a podcast.
Apple’s own approach to screen time, as stated by Cook, is not to extend it so much as it is to gain the most out of one’s phone in short periods of time. The multibillion dollar company even went as far as to introduce a screen time feature to its products. The feature maps a user’s daily activities, then reports to them details such as how long they were on the device and which apps were more utilized. Not content with simply projecting habits, Apple also provided methods of breaking and streamlining them. The feature also gives users the choice to limit their screen time, add hours when the device cannot be used, reduce notifications (as Tim Cook did), and even parental controls to limit device usage by children.
Photo: Brooks Kraft/Apple
This post was written by Arooj Ahmed and was first posted to Digital Information World
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