5 Android Apps to Block Social Media and Fight Addiction
Social media connects us with friends, family members, and others who share our interests. It is a smart way to stay updated on world events and local news. However, it has evolved significantly.
There are numerous social media platforms competing for attention, constantly providing updates and notifications. It is surprising how we have become addicted to these platforms!
According to a 2015 study by Pew Research Center, 24% of Americans are constantly checking their feeds. As we approach 2020, the situation has only worsened. Australians have taken it to a whole new level, with 13.4 million people spending up to 18 hours a day on social media. Even as someone who works online, I don’t spend that much time glued to the screen.
Enough with the statistics. Let’s focus on possible solutions to control this addiction, which is the reason you came here.
First up on the list is App Block. Once you enable the app and give it necessary permissions, it will find and offer to block any social media apps on your smartphone on weekdays. You can choose to enable these ‘profiles’ and activate them or create your own profile with selected apps. Select the days of the week you want to be more productive and set your preferred timings. You can then add or remove apps from the list and choose to block the app from launching and/or prevent it from sending frequent notifications. Additionally, you can duplicate profiles to create new rules for a different set of apps based on your preference. Strict Mode is also available to prevent settings changes during an app’s block time.
When unblocking an app, you can view all blocked notifications. No need to get anxious! The app is free to download and use but includes ads and in-app purchases to unlock unlimited profiles, remove ads, and enable unlimited app blocks and notifications.
2. Stay Focused
Stay Focused offers a similar set of features to App Blocked, with a slightly different UI. You can create a profile by clicking on the ‘+’ icon and choose apps to add to the list.
Control your social media addiction by setting usage time for all the apps in your profile. You can set a limit based on time or the number of launches. For instance, if you set it to 3, you can only launch Facebook 3 times per day or within the designated time frame. Finally, activate the profile on the homepage when you need a break.
I particularly appreciate the Usage Timeline feature in Stay Focused. It creates a timeline with the date and time for all the apps you use during the day. This allows you to see which app you were using and for how long at a specific time, helping you to understand your usage habits. Additionally, you can set a password to prevent uninstallation of the app, similar to App Block.
3. App Off Timer
The UI is not as intuitive as the previously mentioned apps, but App Off Timer offers useful features. You select apps to restrict individually or in groups. Then, you set an off timer, which limits the time you can use social media apps. The Waiting time setting prevents you from using the app for the specified duration. For example, if the wait time is 1 hour, you can’t use Snapchat again until after the app blocks it.
Parents wanting to support their children in managing stress and frustration can record an audio message (under Settings) outlining the new rules or suggesting activities for their free time. The app allows you to view usage stats, although they are not as detailed as in AppBlock and Stay Focused. Similar to App Block, you can add a password to prevent unauthorized access and uninstallation. The App Off Timer is free but includes ads.
Flipd is a unique social media app designed to combat addiction. You can create or join a community to stay focused and utilize the app. Flipd incorporates gaming elements, allowing users to earn rankings based on time saved within the community.
There are two main ways to utilize the app. Casual Lock offers profiles such as My Day and Study, each equipped with a preset timer. Launching a profile initiates a session and tracks your time, including designated breaks to prevent exhaustion.
With Full Lock, you can restrict apps by setting timers to lock your device. Once locked, you cannot unlock or uninstall the app, even with a reboot. Full Lock also disables notifications.
As a student with a valid email ID, you can log in to create/join distraction-free study groups for classmates.
Advanced stats on app usage, ability to add custom time in sessions, and reminders are available with the premium plan starting at $1.99/month.
When I installed Your Hour for the first time, the app prompted that I am dependent on my phone, but not addicted or obsessed. The hours’ figure on the right gave me new life goals. Another neat feature is the floating Clock Timer that, if allowed, will show a non-intrusive timer on any app that you are currently using. An excellent way to keep a check on social media usage in real time.
The timeline feature displays a breakdown of all the apps used throughout the day, including the specific times.
Your Hour is a unique app that takes a different approach. Instead of forcing you to lock your apps or your phone, it gives you the freedom to make a conscious decision. You see a timer on every app, reminding you how long you’ve been watching soap cutting videos on YouTube.
Anything in Excess is Bad
Social media can be a lifesaver if used judiciously. Use these apps to learn self-control. Utilize Facebook and Instagram sparingly. Upload snaps on Snapchat and chat on WhatsApp, but remember to engage in face-to-face conversations and outdoor activities.
Concerned about spoilers on social media? Learn how to block specific keywords to avoid them.
As Fred Humiston, the author behind Twothirds.us, I focus on providing practical and easy-to-follow guides and solutions for a variety of technical issues that people commonly face.
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