Digital wellbeing, what is it? How can it help me in the usage of my Android device?
Firstly, what is Digital Wellbeing? You can find a narrowed down and brief explanation by Mister Mobility in this article, there he defined digital wellbeing as “a suite of apps that help you manage your smartphone usage and disconnect when you need to.”
It is no longer news that as we interact more often with our devices to get most activities done we might find ourselves getting a bit distracted, this can be really bad since we are now in an era where things are carried out virtually and our devices are slowly and gradually becoming our offices.
We have seen a lot of changes in most sectors most of which became more rapid after the COVID-19 pandemic sectors such as education, business and even health have had to adapt to this change. We have seen the rise of digital applications that have set the new norm when is comes to communicating of ideas, learning and socializing with no need for physical presence, such applications like Google Meet we talked about in this article.
Secondly, how can digital wellbeing features on Android help you in your device usage? Like we said earlier digital wellbeing can be said to be a suite of applications that help manage our phone usage, digital wellbeing applications on Android do just that.
Asides from the pre-installed wellbeing features that come native to Android devices Google also has a host of wellbeing applications that can also help us to disconnect and curb excessive device usage. We will look into these features or applications and how they can be of benefit to us.
How To Access And Use Digital Wellbeing Features On Your Android Device.
Even if you do not work remotely, your device can still pose a big threat to you and sidetrack you away from being productive. So first, ask yourself how many hours you spend on your device in a day, you might come to realise that you need to cut down on your device usage.
Digital wellbeing features were first introduced in Android Pie (Android 9) in 2018, so if you have a device running Android 9 and above you are going to have access to these features as well.
Accessing the native digital wellbeing features on your Android device is quite simple and straight forward. Head over to your device settings and type digital wellbeing in the search bar.
You will be taken straight to the digital wellbeing interface, I will advice that you ensure that in the interface settings it is set to display the app icon along with your other applications for easy access.
What features are present on the digital wellbeing interface?
On the application interface you are greeted with a chat that shows you how long you have used your device and which applications you have used. You also have a host of other useful features like:
- Dashboard: This feature helps you set a timer for any application on your devices. This timer tells how long the application can be used during the day and the moment the time elapses the application is closed for the rest of the day.
- Focus Mode: With the help of this feature you can set a particular time of the day when you will need no interruptions from particular applications and within that time period the chosen applications are deactivated completely.
- Manage Notifications: We can all agree that notifications can be very distracting as we will want to check exactly what the notification is about the moment it comes in. With the manage notification feature you can pick selected application that you do not want to receive notifications from (mostly the applications with high chances of distracting you e.g WhatsApp). It also let’s you in on the applications that send you notifications often.
- Do Not Disturb: At particular times in the day we might want to be free from distraction from our device, possibly while at the office, at school or while spending quality time with friends and family. By turning on do not disturb feature you block all interruptions that might be coming into your devices in form of calls, text messages, notifications and so on. You can as well alter the settings of this feature as well as the others mentioned above to suit your needs.
- Heads Up: This is one feature that I have personally found to be helpful. Most people have the attitude of using their devices while walking on the road, which can lead to an accident. What heads up does is to remind you to look up while walking and using your phone. You still need to keep alert as this feature does not replace paying attention to your environment.
- Parental Control: We talked about parental control features on Android in this article. Digital wellbeing also acts as a window to keep.track of your child’s device usage and set limits for them.
Google Stand Alone Digital Wellbeing Applications.
The features mention above are available on your Android device (they come with your Android device). But asides from these Digital health settings Google also has a few applications on PlayStore that helps boost digital wellbeing. These applications are as follows:
- We Flip: Reduce distraction and disturbance from your device when you are with family and friends or even attending a meeting. Everyone joins the we flip session via WiFi and all devices are put on do not disturb mode automatically.
You can download the application from Google PlayStore here.
- Desert island: Have you ever taught about what applications you will need if left on a desert island? This application simply asks the same question and you get to pick the applications you can not live without and put the remaining applications on you phone into
You can download it from Google PlayStore here.
There are a few other digital wellbeing stand alone applications designed by Google that you can get on the Google PlayStore by visiting the Google Creative Lab by opening PlayStore and typing “Google Creative Lab” into the search bar. With these features and applications you will be able to take control of your digital activities and also keep track of device usage.