How digital wellbeing works

How many times do you pick up and check your phone? How much time do you spend a day browsing the TikTok feed, reading news on Twitter, or replying to messages on WhatsApp?

Probably much more than you think, and this behavior, favored by the fact that we always have our smartphone with us, can lead to a real addiction, or in any case anxiety from notifications. But how to live with this reality serenely?

To try to answer this question, a specific term has been coined, digital well-being and tools have been developed to “measure” it, that is, which show us our habits of use of electronic devices. So let’s find out what digital well-being is and how to activate it in 2022, depending on whether it is developed by Google, Apple, Samsung, or Microsoft.

Index

  • What is Digital Wellbeing
  • How Digital Wellness works on Android
  • How Digital Wellbeing works on Samsung
  • How Digital Wellness works on iPhone
  • How Digital Wellness works on PC
    • macOS
    • Windows

What is Digital Wellbeing

With the proliferation of smartphones and the exponential rise of social media and messaging apps ( the best funny video sites for WhatsApp ), awareness of the effects of this type of behavior on the psyche has increased globally. especially (but not only) the most fragile subjects.

Over the years, a new concept has spread, called digital wellbeing, which indicates the search for an intentional and healthy relationship with technology, both in the workplace and in personal life. This is to preserve subjective well-being in an environment characterized by the overabundance of digital communication.

Because it is not true that technologies must necessarily hurt our minds, indeed, but the fundamental point is the awareness with which we use them. This allows us to manage the overstimulation that comes with a permanent connection to the Internet, which often happens compulsively. 

Do you believe that the children of the CEOs of the giants of the Web have a cell phones? No, because their bosses or founders know very well the damage of continuous exposure to this type of solicitation. But without going into the details of the studies, which in any case demonstrate how digital wellbeing education can decrease smartphone overuse, or move to drastic measures, some tools allow us to understand our relationship with technology.

Trivially, they measure the time we spend in front of a screen or on various apps.

2018 was an epochal year in this sense, when Google, with Digital Wellbeing, and Apple, with iOS 12, launched their apps dedicated to this function, but they are not the only ones. Let’s find out which ones are available and how to activate them.

How Digital Wellness works on Android

As we anticipated in the paragraph above, in 2018 Google launched its app specifically for monitoring activities on the device, Digital Wellbeing.

The app, initially exclusive to the Pixels, then soon arrived on other Android devices and it is very likely that if you have a green robot phone you will find it in the system settings. Here’s how to access and use it. 

How to access Digital Wellbeing

  1. On your Android smartphone or tablet, pull down the notification curtain twice and tap the gear icon to open Settings
  2. Scroll down and tap the Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls section
  3. Tap the menu with three vertical dots at the top right
  4. Press Manage your data.
  5. If it is not active, press the button next to Daily use of the device
  6. In the window that opens, tap Open Settings
  7. Tap Digital wellbeing, then enables the Allow access to use option
  8. Use the back arrow at the top left or the gesture to return to the main page.

You now have a colored circle in front of you that shows you how much time you spent using each of your apps during the day.

 By tapping on the name of the app, you will get details on its use, such as screen time on a day of your choice. 

Below, find the Unblocks item, which shows the number of times you have unlocked the phone (don’t be scared!), While next to it is Notifications, which shows the number of notifications received. By clicking on each of these items, you will have access to charts and related apps.

If you scroll down, you will see other options and features that allow you to customize Digital Wellbeing according to your needs.

How to use Digital Wellbeing: Dashboard, Rest Mode, No Distractions and Look Ahead

Digital Wellbeing has some features that help you manage your device better, and for some time now also a handy widget that shows the most usage metrics, with the time spent on the apps.

If you tap the Dashboard item, you will see all the apps you have used on a specific day.

By scrolling on the graph, you can see which app you have used and for how long. If you touch an app, you can access more information and you can set a timer ( App timer ) to close it after a certain amount of time or turn off its notifications.

Digital Wellbeing Dashboard
Digital Wellbeing Dashboard

Rest Mode is instead a feature that prevents us from using the phone before going to bed, a habit that hurts our sleep.

Touching the item you will access an introductory page that shows you the various options available, which can be customized as desired. You can mute the device, use the Grayscale option to alleviate vision by reducing colors, and turn off the always-on display. You can even set an automatism so that Sleep Mode turns on and off at certain times without you having to do anything.

Digital Wellbeing Rest Mode
Digital Wellbeing Rest Mode

No Distraction is a feature that allows you to focus while you work, avoiding having to check your phone every time you receive a notification.

You can choose whether to stop notifications for a certain period and choose which apps distract you the most.

Digital Wellbeing No Distractions 
Digital Wellbeing No Distractions 

Have you ever walked while using your smartphone? It is quite dangerous, and Digital Wellbeing has a special feature that helps you prevent accidents caused by this behavior.

You just have to tap on Look ahead and give the necessary permissions, then the phone will notify you if you are using it when you shouldn’t. 

How Digital Wellbeing works on Samsung

The Digital Wellbeing function on Samsung smartphones is the same as that of Google seen in the previous paragraph but enriched by some interesting functions. 

Log in and set up Digital Wellbeing

To access Digital Wellbeing, you have to click on the Settings icon (the gear icon that you find in the notification curtain after you have lowered it completely). From here, scroll down until you find Digital Wellbeing and Parental Controls.

App timer

By default, Digital Wellbeing only shows screen time for a specific app.

If you want to add a time limit for an app you use too often, do the following.

  1. Open the Settings app
  2. Scroll down to the Digital Wellbeing menu.
  3. Scroll down to the Your Goals option
  4. Choose between usage time and app timer.
  5. Tap usage time and add a usage time goal for today or next week
  6. Tap the App timer and set a time limit for the day
  7. After that, you can check the time goals and timers set, or the remaining time for each app

You will see a small heart-shaped icon next to the app icon you have set in the Digital Wellbeing menu. As soon as you reach the time limit for the app, you will notice that the app icon turns gray. When you tap the app, the system will show you the app timer you have set. You can then change the timer or close the notification.

Concentration mode

Concentration mode, on the other hand, prevents you from getting distracted while working. This mode not only turns off notifications and calls on the phone but also restricts the use of selected apps. Here’s how to set it up.

  1. Access the Digital Wellbeing menu
  2. Click on Concentration mode
  3. You will see two options: Business Hours and Personal Hours.
  4. Select the one you prefer or you can add a custom focus mode 
  5. Select the app (or apps) you want to allow in Concentration mode

Rest mode

Sleep mode turns off all alerts and calls on the phone, and the screen changes to grayscale to reduce eye strain at night.

Samsung Kids

Samsung Kids helps create a safe environment for children to explore, play and develop good digital habits. You can activate the service by tapping the ” Samsung Kids ” button on the quick panel to allow access to a variety of content that develops the imagination.

Through the parental controls of “Samsung Kids,” you can set limits on playing time and give access to specific contacts and applications.

How Digital Wellness works on iPhone

IOS also has its digital wellbeing feature, called Screen Time, which allows you to see how much time you spend on your phone and which app you are using the most.

This feature allows you to set various options to block certain apps or limit the time you spend on them. Since the feature is cloud-based, it can show you how much time you spend on all your Apple devices.

Enable Usage Time

To enable Screen Time, go to Settings and then Screen Time. Here, tap Turn on usage time. Read the information on the Screen time screen and tap Continue. You will now be asked if the device is yours or for a child.

Usage Time will now track how much time you spend on individual apps, features, and phone settings.

If you want, you can set a password to protect your screen time settings and request additional time with an app if the set time expires (you can use your Apple ID in case you forget it).

If you want to see the Screen Time of multiple devices associated with your Apple ID, turn on the switch next to Share on multiple devices. You’ll need to enable two-factor authentication if it’s not already enabled.

How Digital Wellness works on iPhone
How Digital Wellness works on iPhone

Use Screen Time

You can now use Screen Time to limit apps or phone usage.

Pause for use

Use Pause lets you set limits on which apps and features you can access and for how long.

  1. Go to Settings 
  2. Tap Screen time
  3. Tap Pause use
  4. Activate the button
  5. Select ” Every day ” or ” Custom days “, then set the start and end times.

When the use pause is active, only calls, messages, and apps that you have authorized are available.

You can receive calls from the contacts you have selected as eligible during the pause of use and open the apps you have authorized at any time. The option remains active until the end of the day, or until the start of the scheduled usage break if you have done so.

App limitations

From the Screen time main menu, tap App restrictions to set how long you can use specific apps. Tap Add limit, then select a category, or individual apps, or choose All apps and categories to set the same limit on all your apps.

You can also limit the time you spend on individual websites. From the Choose apps screen, scroll down to the bottom of the category list and tap Websites. Tap Add website and type the URLs of all the websites you want to include.

After making your selections, tap Next and set the amount of time allowed to use the apps you’ve selected.

You can choose a different duration for each day by tapping Customize days. If you want to set different limits for individual categories, you need to set them separately. Tap Add to finalize.

Apps restrictions
Apps restrictions

Communications limitations

You can also set limits for how long you can make phone calls, use FaceTime, send text messages, or otherwise communicate with iCloud contacts. From the Screen Time main screen, tap the Communication Restrictions option. From here, set who is allowed to contact you while Screen Time is enabled.

Tap During Screen Time to choose who can contact you when active. Tap During the idle time to choose specific contacts who can reach you during your idle hours. You also have the option to block everyone except your contacts.

If you choose Specific contacts, tap Add contacts from the menu below. You can then select the contacts you want to add and only those people will be able to call.

Communication Restrictions
Communication Restrictions

Always allowed

If you want certain apps to always ignore the Pause block, you can set it to Always allowed.

From Usage time, tap Always allowed, then tap the “+” sign next to an app to allow it. To remove an app from the Always allow list, tap the “-” sign and choose Remove.

Content and privacy restrictions

If you want to allow or prevent specific content, privacy settings, or any other changes, you can do so by tapping Content & Privacy Restrictions from the Screen Time main menu. Turn on the switch next to Content and Privacy Restrictions to proceed.

You can also set a code that must be entered before you can change the settings. Select options to set restrictions on iTunes Store and App Store purchases, app usagecontent based on eligibility, and more.

How Digital Wellness on PC works

Computers also have their own digital wellness services. The one on the Mac is like the one seen in iOS, with which it integrates if you have enabled sharing on iCloud, while the Windows one is more varied and relies on different services.

Digital wellbeing in Windows

Windows has several features for digital well-being. One is the new concentration mode of Windows 11, to which we have dedicated a special guide.

Then there is Family Safety, the integrated service in Windows:

  • Activity report, which shows the online habits of family members
  • Screen Time Limit, which allows you to set a screen time limit for family members
  • Content filters, to make sure family members’ online browsing is safe and secure. Filters work on all Windows, Xbox, and mobile devices that use Microsoft Edge and are connected through Family Safety.
  • Expense Management, to view family members’ recent purchases, add money to their Microsoft accounts, and ask for authorization before making purchases from the Microsoft Store for Xbox.

To use it, you need to activate a Microsoft account for your children, then go to Microsoft’s dedicated site and set filters for online content, usage times, apps they can use, and even for Xbox what they can play and with whom.

Digital wellbeing in macOS

Like iOS, Screen Time for macOS lets you track usage, schedule downtime, and set limits on all your devices.

Activate Usage Time

To activate Screen Time (Catalina and later), follow these steps.

  1. Click on the Apple menu at the top left of the screen
  2. Select System Settings (or Preferences)
  3. Click on Usage Time.
  4. For Ventura, click the button next to Usage Time
  5. To be able to view usage information for any other iCloud-connected device with your Apple ID, select Share to devices on each device

If you use Family Sharing to manage a child account, you can enable Screen Time directly from each of a child’s devices, or do so from the Mac:

  1. Click on the Apple menu
  2. Select System Settings
  3. Click on Usage Time
  4. Configured as a family
  5. Choose the child’s name from the menu in the upper left corner.
  6. Follow the directions

To use Screen Time, you can consult the various items.

  • App usage, allows you to see the time spent with individual apps. Click Categories to view usage by categories such as social networking, productivity, or entertainment
  • Notifications, to see the notifications you have received from each app.
  • Screen activations, to see how often you have activated the device

Next, there are the various Usage Restrictions, Pause of Use, App Restrictions, Communication Restrictions, Always Allowed, and Content and Privacy that we have seen for iOS.

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Abram left his e-business studies to devote himself to his entrepreneurial projects. In 2017, he created the company Inbound Media and wrote articles about high-tech products for his Chromebookeur site. In 2019, Chromebookeur was renamed Macbound and became a general purchasing advice site. Today, Abram manages the development and growth of Macbound, surrounded by a young and talented team.

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