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Using Apple’s New Controls to Limit a Teenager’s iPhone Time (nytimes.com)
118 points by tysone 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 103 comments

It's interesting to me, though not surprising, the the author is so surprised that a software/UI feature could be successful in reducing usage. As if being addicted to phone/software were an inextricable psychological/physiological characteristic/flaw.

I used to use Reddit and Facebook a lot more regularly -- more than daily. But ever since I changed my password to something that I can't recall without a password manager, and added 2-factor auth, I rarely get on just because the lack of ease of use is enough deterrence. Ever since I did a system wipe a few weeks ago, I haven't checked facebook at all because I can't be bothered to get into my password manager.

Though if I were being honest, I now have the meta problem of forcing myself to throw away the keys. I did the same thing with Twitter, even removing it from my phone. Then I reinstalled and logged in because I wanted to stay up to date on a current event one day. Now for a week I've been putting logging out and deleting my cookies.

I did something similar. I simply deleted my Facebook, Messenger and Instragram apps from my phone. Never went back.

Deleting from the phone is the real engagement killer. I can usually get focused on work when I'm on my laptop. And unlike with a phone, I can't reflexively and compulsively use my laptop when waiting in line, walking around, or getting up/going to bed.

I removed the Twitch App and a bunch of CCGs (collectible card games) from my phone. I'm still surprised to have a lot more time to myself again on a per day basis as well as the reduced burden of having to login to get bonuses or finish off a bunch of accrued daily quests so that I could have room for new ones.

I personally think on some level that one of the things (if not the only thing) that will make or break my generation is whether or not enough people reach the milestone of recognizing attention as finite resource (both attention in general and individual's own attention).

1) You can't do something about it if you don't know.

2) You can't know if you have no way of becoming aware.

3) You can't become aware if you're always distracted such that you don't receive sufficiently effective exposure.

The real world is very boring so people escape into virtual worlds.

I think a good solution for this is to make the real world a fun, good place but that requires real friends, a great job, lots of interests and energy after work etc. Everything most people don't have due to the need to get a job for money and go there every day.

If human leaders would be 100 points smarter on the emotional scale, we would put efforts into building great societies where people can enjoy their lives. Put tons of money into using tech to automate really boring jobs at a scale never seen before, and letting people study for free etc.

I have a similar problem, I have a hard time getting focused on a laptop. There are too many distractions, the inputs are too convenient, and it's only getting worse as more things move to the browser. I get so distracted on my laptop that I can completely forget I was working on something and now it's lost, sitting there waiting for me to return to something I don't remember working on.

For example, I never worry about rebooting my iPad for updates. Never. Any time it asks, as long as I'm not actively doing something, I let it. It's 10 minutes, I'll get up and get a cup of coffee no problem. But rebooting my laptop for updates? I have no idea what all is running in the background. I've got five Excel documents, a Powerpoint, and two Word docs I'm working on. Plus a probably an SSH connection to somewhere, plus who knows if Slack is going to come back properly or if it will make me log in again, plus I'll lose my browser sessions and have to log in again to all my work stuff, I need to manually re-establish my VPN connection, and as it all comes back from the reboot, now I have startup crap popping up on boot that I forgot about from last time. Ah shit, and now I find out this update broke some of my software so now I have to find new versions manually for that. And now I've again forgotten what I was supposed to be working on.

I have the same problem you have on a phone, it's too easy to switch between apps and be unproductive. But I've found that (for me) working on an iPad is perfect. I don't have multiple windows open, most apps are expecting to be shut down in the background so they save their state really well, minor OS updates never break app functionality and if something changes, the apps update themselves. And even switching browser tabs is just a tiny bit of a minor inconvenience that I'd rather finish what I'm working on and then get distracted.

Right now on my laptop I have five windows visible, and each one can draw my attention at any moment. That's just not possible on a mobile device, and unlike a phone, an iPad is not designed to fit neatly in your hand with your fingers on the app switcher at all times. For me, it's perfect. If only I could run XCode on it...

In my opinion, deleting them from the phone isn't very helpful when the web browser can be used to access them. Can't delete that from the phone (at least, I don't think you can).

Same here, but I kept Instagram (it really isn't much of a time waster in my case), but nuked Twitter. Twitter, more than any other of the apps, did not only waste my time but made me actively unhappy while doing so.

I find that when I have reinstalled something I would generally not have with me 24-7 like Twitter, writing about how I haven't gotten around to removing it yet is generally the final push to finally pick up the phone and nuke the app.

It may be that they’re surprised the system isn’t easy to bypass and this is actually useful instead of pointless.

I think also it's that the average user doesn't know how to "hack" things. This includes "hacks" like editing etc/hosts to send domains to, but also extends to the general mentality and ambition to even think about altering software to their own personal needs.

On top of deleting all my social media, I gave my wife my Ipad, which had a great impact on my media usage in general, as there are now less places in the house/life where I can engage with really intense media.

You only really need twitter if you want to stay up to date with the events of the day by the minute. Unless your profession dictates it why not stick to reading the news or hn in your own time?

Maybe the discourse that Twitter can offer is valuable to him?

You would think a teenager with a job could just get their own phone plan. I'm kinda thankful helicopter parenting is being undermined by technology (internet+Uber), maybe one day we will get back to reasonable parenting practices they had back in the 60's-70's.

We don't let our kids roam the neighborhood anymore even though it's a magnitude safer than it was decades ago. I don't understand how we expect kids to start acting like grown ups between 18-20 when they've been treated like babies until then.

I was working at 14 and driving wherever by 16. By the time I was in college I was completely independent. Maybe 50% of my friends never even had a job and had no idea how to do laundry or take care of themselves.

If my parents said they were limiting my internet I would've laughed in their face

Robert Epstein has written two fantastic books on this exact topic, "The Case Against Adolescence" and "Teen 2.0" - the heart of both revolves around the artificial extension of childhood modern society has developed into this period we call "adolescence".

I'm a 90's kid, by the time I was 10 years old I stayed at home by myself and my 18 month younger sister after school and during the summer. We would stop by the store after school, visit friends, take the bus to the pool, etc, we just called our mother at work and left a message so she knew where we were. Hell, I had unfiltered access to the internet - and it's not like online predators were some foreign concept in the early 00's.

I can't say my daughter is going to have completely unmonitored internet access at 10 years old like I did, she's five years old right now and I've got network-wide content filtering deployed to give myself a little safety net in case she stumbles off the beaten path while playing a game or something. I intend to keep this deployed until she's old enough to properly police her own activity, but at a certain point I'll need to trust her to do the right thing and teach instead of restrict. I hope more parents can learn to do the same, and this extends into the physical world as well as the virtual one - we absolutely cannot treat teenagers like children that need to be coddled, they are adults in training and deserve an appropriate level of trust and respect.

Completely agree. Back in the day, children began to be treated as adults around 12-13 as long as they proved themselves responsible enough.

I remember riding my bike 10-20 miles when I was 12-14 before cell phones, visiting distant friends and buying random stuff with my $20 allowance. Running errands for my parents too. By 18 my parents were more like mentors than protectors. Just some people I really liked to look up to and help out when things got real gnarly.

Life stuff happened. Flat tires, sketchy situations, talked to the police a few times. Even broke some bones once in a bike accident. Every time I learned how to deal with life situations and make it home alright. Young enough that strangers and the justice system are still ready to give you some slack cuz you're figuring things out, a gift that many kids these days don't get.

It makes you grow up fast. I was babysitting for multiple days at 14, responsibly as any adult. Starting working real jobs soon after, not disclosing because I don't want to dox myself... But I was doing "real adult" jobs where the consequences for mistakes we're so bad that people could die. My boss got several complaints that it was illegal or irresponsible to let a "child" do such work. It wasn't.

I have a couple of points. For the most point I agree with you but here they are.

1) People are people and what works for some kids doesn't work for others. While we're way past what I'd call ok as a society, kids still should have to prove they deserve independence at a younger age. If (for example) I were your parent and you didn't have a job at 16 and wouldn't get one but were on your phone all the time I might use something like this to motivate you to get out and get a job. If your sibling had a job and were on their own plan etc. then I wouldn't do it there.

2) It sounds like Sophie was in on the experiment and would have been able to opt out of it. I did not get the impression that she was forced into anything by her parents or the author. Especially factoring in the last comment about adding in Netflix.

3) My parents did not do well teaching me basic life skills in preparation for college. I learned most of it on my own. They taught me a lot and limited my independence as I proved or disproved my ability to be independent.

Any I just wanted to put some thoughts out there. 50% of your friends couldn't do laundry by the time they started college. What % could by the time they were done? What % can now? I would have been in the 50% at the beginning, but now I'm not. I didn't know how to tile a wall, but now I do. My eldest sister on the other hand was 100% like you and we have the exact same parents.

Just some food for thought.

True, thread below talks a lot more about how not all kids are ready. All of them can take care of life issues now. Best thing about early freedom was ability to learn the ropes before society judged you for it.

The world is a lot harsher when you turn 17-18. Better to learn your way when you're young and most people are willing to accommodate

I think it's worth considering that the HN crowd probably is a selection of the population that skews heavily toward being self motivated and reasonably well adjusted. My siblings and I, too, had very unsupervised upbringings. We all would have done better with more structure. Not helicopter parenting, but some happy medium.

WRT unrestricted internet/device usage: porn addiction is a thing. So is gaming addiction. Adolescent girls being pressured to send nude photos to their classmates is also a thing. IMO parents should take reasonable measures to protect their children from the worst that is out there.

Admittedly, you're probably right. I had some trouble finding friends to hang out between 14-18 because I was too "serious". Not everyone likes hanging out with someone who acts like an adult at that age. Definitely considered uncool haha

As a parent of a 14-year-old, I would far prefer she be roaming about than on her phone. These devices are addictive, and limiting them is important.

I don't see it being any worse than the TV shows and consoles of years past. Or the arcade and bowling alleys of years before that. It's just the newest big time killer. All of those mediums are designed to be addictive and I don't think increased convenience makes it much worse

They are significantly worse. There is absolutely no comparison. 1) Phones combine actual essential features with “time killers”. With a TV or arcade games, there was no illusion of those activities being essential in any sense. So the easy response for both of those was to limit access time. You cannot do that as easily with modern phones (these features are an attempt to do so).

2) Availability. Your phone is with you all the time. Because it is portable and it is personal. A TV was usually shared and rarely portable like the phone. Same is true of other major time killers.

3) Variety. Phones have a much greater variety of addicting behaviors. It’s like taking a super charger TV, arcade games, and a whole host of other new addicting features (e.g. social media which in addition to the dopamine hits has built in fun peer pressure aspects necessitating their use amongst kids), throwing them in the same device, making it extremely portable and available, and then throwing in some essential features (messaging/phones) so parents have to make them available to kids, and until recently providing no decent ways of limiting the usage. 4) Data and dopamine hits. Almost every other “time killer” until now has had to target a fairly broad demographic but today’s apps and social media sites, etc have the smartest brains in the world sitting around plotting how to get adults and teenagers hooked onto their service based on their individual usage. I’ve quit FB but noticed that the app spent the next month spamming me with a variety of notifications trying to figure out what would get me to open it (a birthday reminder did the trick) and then spammed me with birthday notifications until that stopped working and went back to a variety of notifications again. TV never had the ability to target individuals to this degree.

- Surveillance

- Documentation of mistakes

They are solitary activities like TV and gaming consoles. Bowling isn’t. And arcades weren’t when I was growing up, and you’re still out there possibly interacting with people.

Further, they are idle consumption far and beyond books. I’d question anyone who sees someone sitting on a phone/TV/game all day and think it’s doing anything good for them.

Your characterization as “idle consumption devices“ makes no sense at all.

They aren’t exclusively solitary activities. A lot of usage has a social component (it’s communicating with friends). I don’t think you can seriously suggest that relationships forged across a distance are somehow not real or necessarily worse than social relationships you tend to in person.

You can’t just equivocate phones, games and TV – and with phones it‘s really all about the particular usage.

In particular this important social component (uses which allow for communication with other people are some of the most popular) leads me to always be baffled when people automatically connect phone use to being lonely or alone. It can be, but it not necessarily is.

You can't play consoles on the bus, in the street, at the table, on the toilet, in class, in the playground, at the library, in the cafe etc.

You haven't seen Nintendo's latest offering then, have you?

How's instagram on the switch?

Or Sony's PS Vita.

Handheld consoles have been around for over three decades.

Yeah I definitely played Pokemon in all of those places at least as far back as 2003 (when I was in the third grade).

If you have time, please give our free iOS app studycity a test. It will block fun sites after 1 hour. In order to get access back the user has to earn 5+ points on khan, duolingo, code combat, prodigy, Tynker etc. Our servers will log in as the child or make an API call on the learning site to verify.

It works by using a dual mode DNS (learn and play modes). Note the app requires vpn approval, but we only control the DNS. If you want to avoid that you can manually set up the phone after a free signup on our studycity org website.

I never have asked this in 10 years on this site. Can the downvoter(s) clarify the reason? I have spokenwith 1,000+ parents and teachers individually. Easily 90% are very excited about it. It is simply a tool. I don't think every child should use it. In fact, I hope children that use it eventually stop because they have developed better study and time management habits.

I doubt the downvotes have anything to do with your product itself (which seems superficially similar to that in the linked article?), but more with the fact that self-promotion outside of a [ShowHN] is generally frowned upon.

I thought it was an appropriate post that’s sufficiently on topic to not really qualify and shameless self promotion.

This is our twitter account. This link has a few tweets that explain more about it.


A thousand times this.

At 14 my parents were like “you're sick? You know where the Dr. is, don't you?”. It helped me – introvert – tremendously functioning in the world.

An important factor to consider is that the teenager in the article actually wanted the limits in place.

I'm kinda thankful helicopter parenting is being undermined by technology

I wish. I know people in their late 30's who are on their parent's cell phone plan, and have tried (unsuccessfully) to get on their health insurance.

I know tons of people here in Germany who have had their cars officially running with their parents' insurance well into their late 20s (basically as long as possible because it was simply like half the price), at least until some years ago.

We also have this health insurance thing where you can be insured with your parents up until 25 I guess, if you're still going to school or university.

Maybe your point is "people should stand on their own feet at some point" and maybe I'm not weighing 20s vs 30s enough.. but to me that simply sounds like saving money. Hell, if I had had my parents living close to me in my late 20s and being able to save money just by having some contracts in common, I would've done it.

If you have a car on your parents insurance, you are not building up your "damage free years". So it's better to just pay for the high insurance at a young age so you will enjoy low insurance later on in life. At 26 I was already at the maximum of 80% discount on my car and motorcycle insurance.

It's cheaper for my younger brother to be on my parents insurance until he's ~25, and _then_ start building a no claims bonus than it is to start building the NCB now. Paying €1200/year for 4 years and then taking out his own policy starting from fresh is cheaper than paying €3000+ for his own policy and it gradually decreasing over the next 4 years.

I guess it depends on the country and insurer. I insured my moped by myself at the age of 16. Paid €150 per year which was a lot of money for me. When I bought my first car at the age of 22 I only had to pay €300 per year for liability because my no-claims bonus was almost at the maximum amount.

Yeah it absolutely depends, I've seen a lot of calculation models so please don't take anything I wrote above as advice, was just trying to show a different side.

FWIW, for me it was: car insured with parents until I was like 23 I think, and those first 4-5 years were cheaper by A LOT. And then I could still claim my "no accident/damages in 5 years" fee reduction, although maybe not as much as I could've gotten. But money was a bit tight, so it wasn't really a question of "will this save me something in 10 years" more like "I prefer to have a car (first own, cheap one)" over "nope, no car".

It depends on the country I suppose. In Denmark most insurance companies offer "elite" status as long as you're 30 with no prior accidents to your name.

I know lots of people who do this - but in most cases it’s about frugality - for a family of four with two grown children paying ~$100/month (4pp family plan) vs. $220/month (2pp family plan, and two individual plans) it just makes sense

To be honest, I share my Netflix account with my parents. Saves me a bit of money.

how much parenting expierence do you have?

I have a ton and agree with him.

Obviously I don't have a dog in the race of how other people raise their own kids, so I'm a little hesitant to wade in to you guys' discussion.

That said, I mean:

"...If my parents said they were limiting my internet I would've laughed in their face..."


If I had witnessed an exchange between parents and their child where the child "...laughed in their face...", I'm certain I would not have characterize whatever parenting style those parents were using as "good".

It would have rediculous for my parents to suggest it. They trusted me to drive around pretty much anywhere and hold a job without getting in much trouble. How much more dangerous could the internet be than driving through a sketchy area.

Their trust made me far more responsible than I would have been if they tried to treat me like a child when I was in my mid-late teens. I knew if I screwed up it was on me and would've felt bad that they misplaced their trust. Kids loooovvveee being treated like adults, I wish more people would use that as leverage.

I think many parents these days make the transition from guardian to mentor years too late


Secondly, lowest common denominator often creates difficult scenarios.

What I was capable of, at say age 14, was not the norm.

Fortunately, I lived in a time and place where that was accepted and there were few issues.

I once spent a few months writing assembly language. I heard get outside a few times, but that was it.

Later, spent another one fixing an old car, to be my first.

Then, out alone in the deep woods with a friend for a few days.

It was like that growing up. A wide range of experiences. Some easy, others not so easy. Danger was present. One paid attention, or faced it.

So pay attention. Rough, but valuable.

When I parented, I faced similar. Ran it about the same way. Some of my kids could handle it. Others could not, or did later.

The one who really could, a lor like me in that, currently travels the world.


While I can't speak to 'all parents', I can say that as a parent of five, kids develop significantly differently. We've been treating our oldest daughter as basically an adult since she was 13 or 14; the next-oldest is getting there, at 15. Next couple down the line we have to monitor more closely.

I think you raise a good point that children grow into the responsibility they’re given.

Other comment here correctly clarifies point of agreement.

I'd definitely agree: -Buy your kids a simple dumbphone for emergencies (Nokia et al) -Let them work part time for their own smartphone

> “It was just a pattern for me — to open my phone and I would have nowhere to go,” she said. “I was just looking at a screen. It was kind of weird, so I’m trying not to do that.”

I found out I did the exact same thing when I deleted my Reddit account and set limits here on HN. I used to find myself unlocking my phone, looking at it, opening Google News to the same old articles, then locking it and doing something else. I have gotten much more stuff done now that I don't stare at Reddit/HN/other all day.

I feel like society should try to back away from being slaves to our technology, and maybe the popping of the social media bubble, via people realizing how much data they collect, may be the trick to do this.

Have you ever tried reading e-books? I've replaced most of my "on break" or "during commute" social-media time with plain reading of long-form content.

I wouldn't describe myself as "being a slave to technology"—I just wanted something to entertain me when I had nothing to do. Social media was a bad way to fill that hole, in terms of the emotional costs. Books are a better way to fill that hole. Even if both just look like "staring at your phone screen" from the outside.

Have you ever tried reading e-books? I've replaced most of my "on break" or "during commute" social-media time with plain reading of long-form content.

I tried that, and it didn't work for me because it's just too easy to switch to another time-absorbing app if the phone is already in my hand.

But I did something similar: I started reading actual books.

The key was to buy used paperbacks for $1 from low-end bookstores. That way I can carry it around and not worry about it, and if it gets lost or damaged, no big deal.

When I'm done with it, I leave it on the bus or train for someone else to find.

I carry a Kindle around with me for reading for two reasons: First, cause you can’t just switch to something else stupid. And second, cause you look like you’re reading a book to the people around you.

Have you tried Audible? Works great for me for the doing laundry, washing dishes, commuting, etc., modes.

I do read e-books, because I just consider them books. I have a tablet with only WiFi so I don't screw around. It's pretty great to learn stuff that has been well-researched and well-written and without insults about my mother or minorities.

A huge part of the problem is that social media is built of bite size chunks that fit into small amounts of time much better than long form pieces.

I can’t wait to set limit for Reddit. I got rid of Facebook and Twitter last year and it’s so much better.

Heck, why don’t I just delete it right now…

Then there's HN...

HN has decent articles, and not many of them, so going down the HN rabbit hole is more positive experience for most people as compared to Reddit and you don't have the massive size of Reddit that can keep you scrolling for hours.

I traveled around Europe for a month recently with my phone in airplane mode the whole time (except when needing to call a taxi at 3:30am in Venice, Italy). In the first week I also found myself doing this.

As long as technological progress continues improving, we will unintentionally (and intentionally) make things more addictive than before. The same process that drives good technological progress also drives bad technological progress.

Paul Graham's essay on this (http://www.paulgraham.com/addiction.html).

I feel like this is a oddly biased study, as there are two major influencing factors that would have changed Sophie's behaviour.

1. The limits, creating a hard limit, obviously screen time is going to reduce, you can also make my battery a 10th of the size and achieve the same result, it doesn't mean I'm better off or happier.

2. The surveillance. The writer, as a complete stranger to the teenager (for the most part) tracking her daily usage AND commenting on it whilst sharing it with her mother, is enough to change her behaviour dramatically.

I'd like to see how well self imposed limits work, and if there's any beneficial change people notice.

It's a father setting rules for his daughter (and himself while he's at it). Of course it's biased. What's odd about that? I'd understand if this was published as a study, but it's literally a NY Times article telling a story.

You may have missed this part of the article near the beginning:

“Just one problem: I don’t have a child, so I needed to borrow one. Fortunately, my editor gleefully volunteered her 14-year-old, Sophie, to be a test subject.”

Ah, I did. Thanks. I thought it was a writer/editor couple with a child.

Reminder that you can go to /user and set maxvisit and minaway if you're using HN too much.

I had that option for a while and got annoyed by it. I turned it off, because it was often activated right before submitting or commenting (I know it gets saved and won’t get lost but still).

What I do now instead: Before picking up the phone/going online, I force myself to give myself a short reason what I want to do and why. This loop helps me to avoid 50% of pick-ups, which is not perfect, but not bad either.

The fact that HN gives you this option at all, to my mind, sets it in the very unique category of self-aware information sharing communities/platforms. Reddit has subs that focus on productivity and discuss addiction to Reddit itself, sure, but they seem to be going down the same path of catering to addiction now.. deleted Reddit entirely in lieu of HN recently and it's been fantastic.

Along related lines, I noticed just removing notifications from the lock screen greatly reduces phone usage. I also set my phone on do not disturb the majority of the time unless I'm expecting a call. I estimate I cut my time 10x.

That being said, I think screen time is only an approximate message. I spend tons of time on the computer every day but a lot of it is very productive learning online courses, work, and hobby programming projects. I wouldn't count that time towards something I want to avoid.

For years I tried limiting the screen time of my kids (back when iPhone was at versions 4 and 5). Never could manage to do it properly. My kids would always hack it. I concluded that Apple's interest in having kids spend as much time (and money) on the phone is opposite to mine and that's why they didn't allow proper parental controls. Now I just ask for the phone in the evening and give it back the next day. So much for "high tech". Seems that Apple finally woke up and did something about this. Asking a kid not to abuse the phone is like putting a large bag of chocolates in their room and saying "eat responsibly!".

>For years I tried limiting the screen time of my kids (back when iPhone was at versions 4 and 5). Never could manage to do it properly. My kids would always hack it.

This may actually be the best way to teach technical literacy at a young age. When I was young, I thought computers were black boxes that ran on magic. Then I had parental controls set on my user account. I learned really quick about Windows privilege escalation, how to install Linux, WEP cracking, how to load homebrew on the Nintendo DS, etc. I don't think I would have ever gone into Computer Science otherwise.

I think with chocolate its much easier to practice restraint. My children have access to endless sweets, but they seldom take advantage of it. But with the iPad its a different ballgame.

I still eat too much chocolate as an adult sometimes- the stomach aches remind me not to indulge too much.

Maybe because the iPad is a productivity machine and chocolate is a fat machine?

Fascinating article that suggest two things to me:

1) The impact of such tools is heavily affected by the individual. Sophie's personal awareness and will power seem incredibly strong. As she is the child of a NYT editor, this doesn't seem surprising.

2) If people are demanding tools to help them limit their screen consumption time, brands will need to rely more heavily on 'IRL' ways to get in front of consumers (e.g. experiences, events, etc.)

For me, the thing that triggers my phone usage for the most part is notifications. So, I ended up disabling all of them except for a few people I need to be able to hear from (family) and slack messages from my work org. I look at my phone little enough that my OnePlus 3 will last two days.

Now, the most anoying thing about this approach is when apps don't want you to disable notifications and constantly complain about it. Facebook Messenger for instance. You have a banner always visible in the list of chats that says "notifications are off, tap here to enable.". I KNOW they are off, I did it on purpose, and there's no way of getting rid of it.

I found that while it was easy enough for me to swipe away notifications from all my apps, it was the red badges that caused me to open an app as soon as I could - sometimes if for nothing else than to get rid of the badge. Switching my phone's settings to monochrome helped me as it meant that I had to intentionally look to see if an app had a badge on or not.

HN Discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16476727

Can't you disable them on the system level? On my Android device, sliding a notification slightly to the side reveals a button to block all of the app's notifications.

Yes, that's what he did. The issue was that Messenger would detect that he had turned off notifications for the app and nag him to turn it back on in-app.

Pro-tip if you use your phone too much: Carry a book or Kindle around, and when you look idly at your phone, put it in your pocket and read instead.

My solution:

1) Delete all my time waster apps except Kindle

2) Keep at least 3 books and 2 audiobooks in progress at once

3) any time I want to kill time, read the books

I also like to read random wikipedia articles in different languages to compare information

So they'll switch from using their iphone to watching TV, playing their XBox, or getting on the computer.

None of those devices work on busses, cars, or hallways.

I would like to introduce you to "portable video games" like the PSP

How's the instagram client on that, these days?

touche :-)

The social networks are what may be drawing most teens, but if they are bored and just wasnt to waste time, I guess anything will do (even old videogames)

I turned this on the first week of the beta, but then I just ended up spending more time on my computer. I'd really love for Apple to bring this to macOS as well.

Sounds like it works as intended.

Soo.. is there something equivalent for Android? If not, is something coming for Android P?

Quick googling yields https://families.google.com/familylink -- would that do?

Not trying to overly criticize, nitpick or detract from the point of the story, but is that really a headline that belongs at a journalism publication like The New York Times?

IMO it's newsworthy that this feature is going to exist and a lot of people outside of the tech world have no idea unless someone tells them about it. We've been reading about "phone addiction" in newspapers for ages, now there are tools to help manage it.

If you're a parent of teenagers with iPhones this is a pretty big story and the headline at least answers the implied "did it work?" question instead of trying to bait you with it.

I'm surprised, given that it is the NYT that the headline isn't:

For Limiting Teenagers' Screentime, Apple Provides New Controls

The NYT also reviews TV shows, movies, and Broadway productions. Are those any more/less newsworthy than a change to a system that millions of its readers are holding?

What do you see as a problem?

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