4 reasons your Screen Time report has it all wrong

January 12, 2023
Joey Odom

It’s a beautiful Sunday afternoon. You’re enjoying a leisurely day, watching football, and spending time with your family. Until… the dreaded Screen Time notification pops up on your phone. Through squinted eyes, you peek to see how you did this week. But should we really put much weight behind this single data point? We think Screen Time has it all wrong for a few reasons.

1. Your phone distracts you even when the screen isn’t on

Ever heard of “Brain Drain”? Researchers coined this term in 2014 and have continued to affirm that the mere presence of our smartphone limits our cognitive performance, whether we are using the phone or not. This is especially problematic because 91% of Americans keep our phones within arm’s reach 24/7. So even if Screen Time only shows four hours of daily phone use, there are 20 more hours of phone distraction in the day if our phone is with us. Aro is founded on the research that shows the only way to truly remove the distraction is to put some space between you and your device so that you can be fully present in the moment with the people who matter most to you.

2. It focuses on the negative

Two-thirds of smartphone users are trying to limit phone time, and the Screen Time report is usually a reminder that I fell short. It also is no reflection of the life I lived apart from my phone. It doesn’t keep track of my phone-free family time or the time I spent immersed in a book. We believe you should feel proud about your intentional off-screen time instead of feeling bad about your screen time. That’s why Aro is the only solution that can tell you how much time you’ve been away from your phone.

3. It downplays the total time on your phone

Every Monday morning, I get a report from Aro that tells me how much time I spent away from my phone in the past week. This is actionable information that helps me build the habits I want. I can quickly see I spent 75 hours away from my device as well as a list of things I did during that time. Your screen time is reported as a daily number (and yes, you can dive in to see it across the entire week but you probably didn’t know that). Four hours a day on your phone may seem reasonable, but that adds up to more than a day per week, which adds up to two months a year on my phone! From that lens, it does become motivating to make a change. 

4. You probably ignore it

We hear it all the time. “I cringe when I get that report.” “I turned it off.” “I don’t even look.” At this point, most of us probably don’t even know our screen time because we don’t want to know and decide to ignore it. It’s great that we have access to this data but most of us have become numb to it and choose not to look at it let alone do anything to improve it.

This Sunday, give yourself a break, and don’t worry too much about what Screen Time says. Instead of focusing on the time you’ve been on your phone, focus on the great things you can be doing apart from your phone. 

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