Plot Twist: Tech Companies Now Want to Cure Our Screen Addictions

For a few moments this year, 2018 felt as though it were destined to provide the prelude in the e-books that would eventually come to chronicle the Great Robot War of 2035. Digital tech had hacked an election and all but made privacy a thing of the past, and was ravaging our mental health — not to mention kicking our ass on Westworld. But then, something changed: Silicon Valley took notice, realizing that perhaps it wasn’t just their own survival that depended on addressing our screen addiction — it was society’s. This fall, software updates equipped our devices to do something previously unthinkable: actively help us to fight our screen addiction, and go back to appreciating technology’s ability to do good. Maybe there won’t be a Great Robot War after all. In the meantime, you have a whole host of new ways to program your phone to remind you to prioritize real life this holiday season.



We’ve gone from feeling FOMO to worrying about our “like” counts to fretting about our personal brands. Oof.


Former Google employee Tristan Harris now hosts TED talks about the ways engineers scheme to get us hooked.


The Canadian Paediatric Society recently cited studies drawing associations between screen time and lowered attention spans.

Ways to Ease Back

Notifications Settings

Do Not Disturb modes on iOS and Android allow you to achieve a digital detox without the cabin in the woods.

Grey-Scale Mode

By switching your phone to a more subdued palette, you can make it look as boring as a microwave instruction manual.

Screen Time/Digital Well-Being

New features from Apple and Google allow you to track and set limits on how long you’re able to engage with certain apps each day.