Screen Time: Does Apple’s New Feature Help Fight Phone Addiction?


Source:Debra Borne

Debra Born, Staff Writer

Are people becoming addicted to their phones?

As phones become increasingly available, popular and accepted in society, there is a constant discussion on the effect phone usage has on people. This week, Utica College students weighed in on the issue.

“I’d say a good 50 percent [of students] are addicted to their phones,” said freshman Joe Shirley. “I think it’s mostly a problem with the younger generations. You see people on their phones, like, all the time, which leads me to that number.”

In order to help users better understand their phone usage, Apple rolled out a new feature in its iOS 12 updates called Screen Time. Apple’s Screen Time was a major development in the ongoing debate over smartphone addiction, but does it accomplish its purpose?

“I think it’s a good idea, I think they should have it out there, but I don’t think people are gonna listen,” Shirley said. “Chances are they aren’t going to bother to look at it.”

Kate Thompson is a senior and said her iPhone 7 automatically downloaded the Screen Time app about three weeks ago.

Thompson spoke about her phone usage and said that the app sends her notifications when she has excessively used her phone.

“I’ve only gotten one notification so far,” Thompson said.

Thompson was surprised at the results because she had expected to be using the phone more. However, she has opinions about people overusing their phones.

“I think we’ve become less social because we’re glued to our phones,” she said. “Just because we have something else to entertain us, we don’t have to talk to other people or new people.”

Nia Womack is a senior and has not heard about the new feature, but she looked it up immediately to find out more.

“I’m very on the fence about this,” Womack said. “It goes to show how addicted we’ve become.”

Janelle Baron, a senior graduate student, also has Screen Time set up and said that the feature shows which days she uses her phone the most.

“I look at it more on the weekends because I have more downtime,” she said.

As Baron talked, she scrolled through her notifications to see how much time she had spent on social media. The feature breaks the time spent by users into categories, including social media, productivity, and entertainment.

“It’s a constant reminder, but it helps that you can hide it,” she said. “I have the option to look at it.”

Kelsey McCann is also a senior graduate student in the Occupational Therapy major, but she does not have the Screen Time app.

“I feel like it’s probably good,” said McCann. “I feel like knowing how much time I spend on it would make me not want to go on it.”

Other students have different opinions about phone usage and addiction.

“I personally don’t think that we use the phone too much,” said Justin Potocki, year-one graduate student in the Physical Therapy major. “There’s a right and a wrong time, but it can definitely be a distraction.”