Apple’s “Screen Time” Feature Shocks Many

Aidan O'Connor

Apple’s new update, IOS 12, has people in shock over the amount of time they spend on their phones.

Released this past September, the new software included many technical updates that fixed problems and common complaints, as well as adding more emojis, creating new texting features, and even allowing users to have a group facetime for up to 32 users. But the Screen Time feature is what seized the most users’ attention.

With Screen Time, Apple users can access real-time reports about how much time they spend on their iPhones and iPads. Not only is it meant for the conventional user, but it is aimed for parents to be able to track their children’s phone usage and set limits on the amount of time they can go on their phone.

According to an eMarket report, the average person spends over four hours on their phone, which is a drastic increase from previous years. This means that roughly one-fourth of everyone’s day is spent on their phones. In order to combat this alarming number, Craig Federighi, Apple’s senior vice president of software engineering, said on, “we’re offering our users detailed information and tools to help them better understand and control the time they spend with apps and websites, how often they pick up their iPhone or iPad during the day and how they receive notifications.” Thus, Apple is leading an initiative to help people limit their daily time spent on their phones.

Almost two months after the release of the software, many users are baffled at their personal statistics. Manhasset sophomore Joshua De Leeuw averaged four hours and 20 minutes on his phone per day, a number he says is, “way too much.”

Ben Glauner, also a sophomore, received his report of an average of six hours and 14 minutes per day. After seeing this frightening number, Ben says, “I feel ashamed.”

After receiving these disturbing statistics, many students are taking an initiative to limit their time spent on their phones. Sophomore Ethan Horowitz believed that his average was, “higher than it should be. I plan on using Apple’s new ways of setting a time limit on certain apps, so I don’t waste too much time on my phone when I’m doing my homework. Hopefully, it will allow me to get more sleep.”

Not only are students taking advantage of this update, but parents are too. Many parents are using the Family feature, where they can set restrictions on their children’s phones so that it will shut off when their children are on it for too long. Manhasset parents Chris and Lisa O’Connor are taking this initiative.

Lisa O’Connor said, “It really concerns me seeing people, children, as well as adults, on their phones all the time. I have even seen babies scrolling through their parents’ phones while being pushed around in strollers. I don’t think people have truly stopped to think about the long-term effects this will have on us as a society-emotionally, socially (inability to communicate with each other face to face) and physically (i.e. children inside playing Fortnite on a sunny day). Honestly, the easy thing would be to let my children go on their phones as much as they want and not set restrictions or point out the negative effects. However, I love my children too much and will live with them hating me when they have to ask for more time on their phones. I tell them they’ll understand one day when they have their own children.”

Others believe that it is an infringement on their lives and don’t want their parents setting their restrictions on their phone. Eighth-grader Brigid O’Connor said, “I think that it is very unfair. I feel like my parents are limiting my interactions with friends and my entertainment time. I should be able to use my phone for as long as I want and it is a complete violation of my privacy.”

The Apple Screen Time feature has received mixed reviews from users, leading many to wonder if, when it comes to their screen time, the old adage is actually true: “the truth hurts”.