Some of us jokingly say that we’re addicted to our iPhones. A newly released app called Moment will show us just how true that statement may be. Designed to promote a healthier balance between our real lives and those lived through the small screens of our digital devices, Moment tracks how much you use your phone each day, helps you create daily limits on that usage, and offers “occasional nudges” when you’re approaching those limits.
The app’s creator, Kevin Holesh, says he built Moment for himself after realizing how much his digital addictions were affecting his real-world relationships.
After moving in with his fiancée and settling into their new lives together, they both started whipping out their iPhones at the end of the day to unwind, Holesh explains via a blog post. And while that’s okay to a point, for him, it was becoming a serious problem.
“We stopped doing fun and productive things and chose the path of least resistance,” he writes.
Sometimes, too much of a good thing is just too much, it seems.
As an iOS developer himself, Holesh decided to build a solution – yes, in the form of an iPhone app. But this app isn’t meant to be actively used. Instead, it’s “designed to be invisible,” says Holesh. That is, after you set up Moment the first time, you never need to open it up again. The app will just run in the background, alerting you as to when you’re going over your daily limits.
Holesh tells us that most people don’t realize how much they’re on their phone.
“As a tiny experiment, I asked people to guess what their daily usage was and they were almost always 50% too low,” he says. “The daily limits have helped people set a goal for how much they’re on their phone. My main goal with Moment was make me aware of how many minutes I’m burning on my phone each day, and it’s helped my testers do that, too.”
The overall goal with Moment is not about getting you to “put down your phone forever and go live in the woods,” Holesh notes on the app’s website. It’s about creating a balance in our lives.
There’s also a bonus function in the app related to whether or not we’re putting our phone down in favor of going out on the town, so to speak – Moment can also optionally track where you’ve been throughout the day.
Our Digital Addictions
Like Holesh, many of us are concerned about the impacts of the digital environment on our real-world existence. On the one hand, we have companies – like Google, for example – looking to embed technology into every aspect of our lives, including on all our mobile and computing devices, in our homes, in our cars, and even on our bodies via wristwatches, eye glasses and maybe even contact lenses one day.
On the other hand, there’s this undercurrent of fear about what it means for technology to continue this encroach on our lives in this way. What does the world look like when you forget your phone for a day, asked this poignant (and pretty sad) video from last year, for example. (See below).
Another video (again, below), now making the rounds, focuses more on how our connections with others via our digital screens are, at best, performances that are often far removed from reality.
We’re playacting for “Likes,” it says. We are not living.
Of course, the mobile app Moments is not an overarching panacea for all that ails us about our digital habits and obsessions.
But for those who wake up to embrace their phone before their loved ones, for those who treat real-world conversations of secondary importance to incoming texts and emails, and for those who spend foggy hours on Instagram and Twitter and Facebook when having only been in search of a momentary distraction, Moments may be a step in the right direction.
For Holesh, the effect has been pronounced. He used to spend 75 minutes per day on his iPhone. Now, he spends just 40.
The app is also now Holesh’s main business, as he generates revenue through the in-app purchase that lets you unlock the daily limit settings.
Moment itself is a free download here on iTunes.