If you've been unsuccessfully trying to cut down on screen-time, you're not alone. However, Google might have found the best strategy to nip this habit in the bud. And save us from ourselves. To get you to leave your smartphone alone, Google will employ the one emotion that everyone is susceptible to: Guilt. Google's experimental apps, Activity Bubbles, Envelope and Screen Stopwatch will shame you into reduced screen time.
But how? Well, the quirkiest one for sure is 'Envelope'. To use this app, one has to print out a paper envelope which, along with the app, will force the user to use their smartphone exclusively for making calls or taking photos. That is, of course, until necessity or temptation (much more likely) leads you astray and you tear the seal. However, this app is only compatible with the Pixel 3a as of now.
The other two apps will give you constant visual reminders of your smartphone obsession. Activity Bubbles creates a bubble on your phone's home screen each time you unlock the device and keeps enlarging the longer you are hooked to the screen. Screen Stopwatch, on the other hand, gives you a constant real-time reminder of how long you've been using your device, making your smartphone addiction, quite literally, stare you in the face.
Similar to Google's other digital wellbeing offerings, these apps offer just the right amount of control for someone who actively wants to reduce their screen time, and can muster enough self-discipline to follow the apps' instructions. If you think you can resist the urge to check your Instagram or Twitter feed just one more time, then this might be the solution for you.