Let me make this incredibly clear *clears throat*:
Turn off your iPhone Screen Time notifications. Go ahead, do it. It’s OK.
When every day of coronavirus social distancing feels like a Tuesday on repeat, the weekly iPhone Screen Time alert is one way to know it’s actually Sunday. And friends, it’s a brutal reality to wake up to when all you wanted to do was make pancakes and finish Tiger King.
Each Sunday morning, your iPhone lights up with a notification. No, it’s not a kind-but-worried check-in text from an old friend or an Instagram alert that your mom reacted to your Story with a cartwheel emoji again.
Nope, it’s a Screen Time reminder. The reminder that tells you how much time you spent on your phone in the past week and if it’s up, down, or the same. Of course, in a time of shelter-in-place orders, self-isolation, and quarantining because of a global pandemic, we’re spending a
little A LOT more time on our phones.
And you know what? That’s totally fine.
An actual “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but”…you can turn off your phone’s Screen Time notifications.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) March 29, 2020
Apple rolled out the Screen Time feature in 2018 as part of iOS 12. The feature was meant to help iPhone users be more conscious of the time they spent staring at their black mirror. In 2019, Apple CEO Tim Cook even said, “We don’t want people using their phones all the time.” Well, it’s 2020, we’re not allowed to socialize IRL, so Tim, we’re going to be absorbed by our phones at all times.
Moving away from near-constant screen time has been an aggressively debated topic for years, and the guilt that comes with seeing your phone time up 75 percent is very real.
And you’re not the only person dealing with an ugh-triggering reaction to that pesky notification.
It’s time to turn off the notification and turn off the guilt. Our phones connect us to people we love and miss. Our phones gives us human connections at a safe distance. Our phones are the only link some of us have to other humans (and cute animals).
My screen time went up about 562 percent in the past two weeks. I used my phone to play trivia on Instagram Live with friends from New York to Texas. I called my parents to hear their voices (and remind them to please, please, please stay inside). I downloaded a yoga app that I’ll never use. I recorded a video of New Yorkers clapping for healthcare workers from the safety of my window. I took photos of my toddler dressed like a “butterfly superhero” so one day I can show her all the ways we tried to keep her busy inside. And I mindlessly scrolled through Instagram and Twitter to be reminded of all the people who are out there doing their best, connecting to humanity however they can.
So you know what? If constantly being on your phone is what you need right now, go ahead.
Here’s how to turn off your Screen Time notifications, by the way:
Be free of Screen Time notifications, it’s the burden we don’t need right now.
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