I was reading an article about the ways that children are getting around Apple's Screen Time to continue feeding their screen addiction habits. It seems to indicate that trying to make apps engaging/addictive will always counter any efforts to reduce device usage time as it is not really getting to the root cause of the problem, which is the lack of design ethics and consideration for the impact of designing to keep users on the app.

Maybe there's some research that indicates the different behaviours between adult and children when it comes to Screen Time, and that adults see it as a way to modify their behaviours while children see it as a challenge that they have to overcome.

Should we be getting back to the basics and applying design principles like Calm Technology which encourages us to design applications in a different way? Or has anyone seen some examples of either device related or app related solutions that has been able to create positive screen usage and attitude towards screen addiction.

  • I will only write a comment since I don't feel like this is an actual answer, but maybe trying to fix too much screen time with things inside the screen is like the old saying "only treating the symptoms instead of the root". I, personally, feel like it has to come from behavioral change way before that. Otherwise children will simply find a way around it or just get angry abut it (such as when parents would disconnect the router or take away the GameBoy). – Big_Chair Nov 21 at 23:05
  • One reference I have is a bit esoteric, so bear with me, but in the book Levels of Energy by Dodson the author speaks about a case where a teenager would constantly play a violent video game and the parents' attempts were only met with more anger. What helped in the end was not directly trying to control the kid's behavior, but by changing his surroundings so that he would be met with more intellectual things daily (such as high class paintings, musical instruments, etc.). I just felt like that might be a useful perspective. – Big_Chair Nov 21 at 23:09
  • @Big_Chair I couldn't agree with you more, which is why I brought up Calm Technology as a reference for fundamental changes to our design approach. Although I think it will be quite a challenge for any designer to be able to align with those philosophies while working within their own current design ecosystem. So I am thinking about a more gentle transition (if at all possible). – Michael Lai Nov 22 at 20:17

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