Life Style

How Do You Limit Your Screen Time As an Adult?

stock photo of woman scrolling through Instagram feed in front of a computer screen

I’ve seen a lot of chatter about screen time limits lately — especially since screen time is now so easy to track on your iPhone! — and I thought it might make an interesting discussion here. Over at CorporetteMoms today we’re discussing screen time rules that work for policing kids — but do you use any strategies to limit your own screen time, such as screen time apps and tools (like those on the iPhone or available through some WiFi routers), detox days, or other habits (like the “phone stack” game)?

For my $.02, I should definitely take more of a screen time detox than I do. I’ve been spending far too much time on Twitter and Facebook following political events, so I’ve been trying to track and limit my use of social media. I was a bit dismayed to find that simply setting a screen time limit for Social Media on my iPhone wasn’t super helpful — Messages are included in that category, and a lot of my texting is for kid-related things that I can’t really disconnect from, plus things that I think are actually healthy, like connecting with my husband and friends. So now I tend to limit things by app rather than by category. (See the image below if you’re curious for how to do it; it took me some time to figure out.)

Other healthy habits to limit my own screen time include 1) trying to put my phone away during family dinner (when I grab it, it’s usually to track my food for the day) and 2) attempting to enforce a screen time “bedtime,” where only my Kindle is allowed after 11:30 p.m. 

Obviously, my work is online, and a big part of my work is social media stuff like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, so I can’t limit them entirely, but it is always helpful when I can. I’ve tried the app Forest, which rewards you for putting down your phone for specified periods, but I can’t say I use it consistently — a lot of times, I’m legitimately picking up my phone for work or mom stuff! (After writing this post, I decided I’m going to try to use the app when I’m trying to take a phone detox, like during dinner or on Sundays.)

If you haven’t checked your own screen time (and have an iPhone), you can go to Settings -> Screen Time (for me it’s at the bottom of the second grouping). For the last 7 days on iPhone and iPad I’ve spent… oooh, not good:

  • Safari: 6 hrs. 25 min.
  • Facebook: 5 hrs. 41 min.
  • Messages: 4 hrs. 51 min.
  • Stupid game I play after the kids go to bed: 4 hrs. 51 min. (facepalm)
  • Twitter: 3 hrs. 18 min. 

I prefer to see things broken down by individual app rather than categories — you can then add individual limits to the apps. (See image below of where you add the limit on the individual app.) Note that these generally aren’t HARD limits — you’ll just get a little notice that basically says, “Hey, your screen time is up; enter the screen time passcode if you want more time.” Then you can give yourself another 15 minutes, an hour, or ignore the limit entirely. I also have general Screen Time Downtime (another iPhone option within the Screen Time page) from 10:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., when almost every app on my phone requires the passcode before I can use it. (You can also “always allow” apps like phone, messages, FaceTime, Dropbox, Sleep Cycle, etc.) 

Psst: we’ve talked in the past about how to limit your time on specific websites on Chrome, as well as our top 5 ways to improve your focus.

How about you guys — what is your relationship with screen time? Do you try to limit your own screen time, and if so how do you do it?  

Stock photo via Stencil.FB-sized stock photo of woman scrolling through IG feed

How do you limit your screen time? Digital detox is good for adults too—so let's talk best screen time habits, including how to limit screen time per app.

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