Think You’re Not Addicted to Your Smartphone? This App Knows the Truth

Moment can track how much you really use your mobile device and help you set limits.

(Photo: 27 Studios/Getty Images)

Jul 3, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Culture and education editor Liz Dwyer has written about race, parenting, and social justice for several national publications. She was previously education editor at Good.

You know Americans are addicted to their smartphones when they readily admit that they’d rather go without brushing their teeth and using deodorant than be without the electronic devices. But just how badly are you hooked on endlessly checking your Facebook feed and refreshing your Twitter and Instagram? Now there’s a free app that can tell you exactly how severe your problem is and nudge you to put your phone away.

If limiting access to your smartphone sounds scary, then that’s a sign that there might be a problem. Confession: I can be halfway to work, but if I discover that I’ve left my phone on the kitchen counter, I’ll turn around and go back to get it—even if it means I’ll be late. I don’t talk to Siri like she’s my girlfriend, as we saw in the movie Her, but, ahem, we are BFFs. And sometimes, my family complains.

Kevin Holesh told the Daily Mail that he designed Moment because of his own smartphone addiction. He found himself “ignoring my family and friends in favor of my iPhone,” he said. “Sometimes that’s OK, like when I’m looking up who starred in Men in Black with Will Smith on IMDB. But I really should be concentrating on the present moment and the people I love around me.”

Once you download the app, which is currently available only for other iPhone users, you can set a daily limit on how much time you can spend using your smartphone. It’ll give you updates on how many minutes you have left to use your device, and it’ll even buzz with a warning when you’re over your limit.

No, it won’t shut down your phone when you go over. It’s up to you to decide that it’s time to do that. “My goal was to find a balance of connected and disconnected that was right for me,” said Holesh. “I hope Moment helps you find that balance too.”