In today’s hyper-connected world, meditation and relaxation-focused resource Calm gives you a much-needed mental break during the day, and can help you quiet the spinning wheels in your head when it’s time to sleep at night. Now the company is rolling out a second application called Checky, designed more to make you aware of how often you’re using your smartphone.
This very basic app simply shows you how many times per day you’ve checked your phone, and maps out where that usage occurred. Effectively, the app serves as an advertisement for Calm’s flagship application by introducing the concept of technology addiction and behavioral change. The app is also a literal ad for Calm, too, as it serves up an ad at the bottom of the screen pointing to the meditation app, which recently raised an additional $578,000 in new funding.
If the concept for Checky sounds familiar, it’s because it has been done before – recently, in fact, by a similar app called Moment. But where Moment tracks how many minutes you’ve been on your phone, and allows you to set alerts reminding you of your goal to decrease the time spent staring at your little screen, Checky takes a slightly different tack. Instead of calculating minutes, Checky answers the question: “how many times a day do I check my phone?”
Those sessions may be long or short, of course. The point is to see if you have a tendency to pull your phone out of your pocket more often than may be called for by giving you a basic score you can track over time.
“Like many folks, I am pretty much addicted to my phone,” says Calm founder Alex Tew. “And now I know exactly how much: most days I check my phone over 100 times. In fact, yesterday I checked my phone 124 times. Today I’m at 76, so far. Having this new awareness makes it easier to control my phone usage,” he says. “My new goal is to check less than 100 times a day.”
Plus, Tew adds, “everyone I’ve shown the app to wants to know their score, too. I think it has potential to be very popular.”
So yes, you can compare your scores with friends to see which of you is more obsessed. If that’s your kind of thing!
The Checky and Moment apps could be used in tandem to give you a better picture of your daily habits, or you may prefer one over the other. Or maybe you find the whole concept of limiting your mobile usage rather silly — especially in an era when we’re about to strap our phones to our wrists (or even our eyes) in order to be better–connected, “always on” individuals, instead of those who relish the precious minutes of living gained when phone batteries die or we find ourselves on flights lacking Wi-Fi.
That said, the apps may also play a role in our personal relationship with our portable technology, a reminder that moderation may still hold some value.
In Checky’s case, the app is more of an experiment, built over a few days, rather than a new direction or focus for the company. And Tew says there are no plans for other apps right now.
To check out Checky for yourself (ha!), you can download it here for iOS or Android.