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New iPhone Feature Can Help You Track and Limit Your Screen Time

Do you have any idea how much you use your smart phone each day? If you have an Apple device, it's not a guessing game anymore. The IOS 12 update contains a new feature called "Screen Time" that will tell you exactly how much time you're spending swiping and scrolling — but you better brace yourself for the reveal.

"It is eye-opening," said Katie Greer.

Greer is a teen tech expert who is often talking to kids about limiting their screen time. Now, it appears she needs to follow her own advice.

"I was disgusted when I enabled mine on my phone to see how much time I was spending and where I was spending my time," said Greer. "I cannot explain three hours, 31 minutes on social media a day."

The screen time feature provides detailed daily and weekly activity reports, showing you the total time spent in each app, usage across categories of apps, and how often you pick up your iPhone or iPad each day. Apple says it can help customers take control of the time they spend interacting with their devices.

"I go to bed every night thinking there is not enough time in my day to accomplish everything I need to accomplish," said Greer. "If I could just get those four hours and 19 minutes back, what I could have done in those four hours and 19 minutes would have totally transformed my day."

Think of all the laundry, household chores or work you could have accomplished in that time.

Brian Jadro is a behavioral psychologist at William James College. He was also surprised to see what his phone had tracked.

"I had not thought I spent so much time on social media. I got rid of social media for that specific reason," said Jadro. "It's also amazing that I could pick up a phone 144 times in a day and not realize it."

Jadro thinks this is a great tool for people who are trying to cut back on social media or overall screen time.

"In order to make change, we need to be aware of if there is a problem or not," said Jadro. "So the amount of time we are spending on the phone is not known to the average person until there is some data to support it, and if you want to change your behavior, Screen Time allows you to set specific time limits for app use. I have put locks on certain apps, and social media, specifically, just to be aware of how much time I'm spending on it. It's been really helpful for me."

"It will give you a weekly report," said Greer. "Mine said, 'Your screen time is down 19 percent,' and I'm not going to lie, when you get that, you say, 'Yes, I did it! I wasn't sucked into this machine anymore.'"

Screen Time lets parents set limits on their kids' devices. You can also show them exactly how much time they have spent on their phones and they will have a hard time disputing the data staring you and them in the face.

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