The dramatic surge in the innovation and every-minute use of communication and social media apps has drawn attention to what is missing: apps that serve us without enslaving us. While all advancements in technology are intended for the benefit of users, good intentions have yielded some bad results. We are now accustomed to hear about new sorts of addictions: digital, internet, social media, and smartphone addictions. For technology to fulfill its role as our best ally, something must be done about this dark side. Thankfully new trends are emerging to promote digital wellbeing and counterbalance the damaging physical, mental, and psychological impact of mindless technology consumption. There is a growing number of apps that promote digital wellbeing; there are smart phones that come embedded with apps and tools that support mindful interaction with our mobile phones; and then there is Chapp—the only messaging app that rests upon values of digital wellbeing, work-life harmony, peace of mind, and control.
What the Numbers Uncover
The statistics are unequivocal about our smartphone dependency.
· 2,617 is the average total number of times we interact with our mobiles per day. Dscout’s 2016 blog entry left us with our mouths agape. By interaction, dscout means each single tapping, typing, swiping, or clicking.
· 144 minutes a day is the average amount Internet users worldwide spend per day using social media (Statista.com).
· A 2018 statistic revealed that social media usage in UAE, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia consumed a little above 3 hours a day.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. It represents a usual year with no abnormal events. Now fast-forward to 2020, the exceptional year of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lockdown, social distancing, refreshing the news by the second, and migrating from offline to online! According to Statistica, starting from March 2020, 70% of internet users reported increased usage of their mobile phones as a result of the pandemic. We are more glued to our mobiles than ever before.
Mindless around our Smartphones
We compulsively reach towards our smartphones and roam the social apps amidst our work; and if it is family time, we fetch our mobile to check for work updates. We may panic if we discover we have forgotten our mobiles at home—there is a term coined for that: nomophobia (no mobile phobia); we may feel restless if we go on a mobile-detox hour to wean ourselves off unnecessary mobile usage; we pant for the “red dots”—these notifications that keep us coming back for more. The majority will relate to these symptoms.
The unwise consumption of technology is detrimental to our wellbeing; it leads to poor sleep, anxiety, social isolation, physical and mental exhaustion, musculoskeletal and ophthalmological problems, and decreased productivity levels and strained relationships—to exemplify.
Towards Digital Wellbeing
If technology is wasting our time instead of saving it and disempowering instead of empowering us, then something must be awfully wrong. Luckily enough, some tech giants and entrepreneurs are working to set it right.
· Google has announced its commitment to providing everyone with the tools that promote digital wellbeing as a concept and practice. https://wellbeing.google/ presents the guidelines to understand, evaluate, and balance our relationship with technology.
· Recent releases of iOS and Android devices come with built-in digital wellbeing tools that allow users to draw the line. For example, iOS Screentime tracks users’ interaction with their iPhone; App Limits allows users to decide how long they can use an app; iOS Downtime is close to Android’s focus mode which offers users offers a “work time” or “me time” choice. For each time choice, users select which applications to enable and which to disable.
· More digital wellbeing options include the grayscale, the blue light filter, and the wind down. Colors are tempting and rewarding; grayscale is unappealing; so it will naturally and quickly discourage users from aimless scrolling or browsing. Blue light filter reduces eye strain and transmits users to a more sleep-conducive mode. Wind down activates both the grayscale and Do Not Disturb features, blocking all sounds and notifications for the period of time a user predefines.
Chapp: Transcending Balance and Trendsetting Harmony
We are thankful for the concerted efforts that promulgate digital wellbeing practices and balanced technology usage. At Chapp, however, we aspire above and beyond “balance” towards work-life harmony, peace of mind, and control. Chapp aims to prevent anyone and anything from exercising control over its users, from impairing their personal relationships, or stealing their time. With Chapp, we can live fully in the now, not absent-mindedly torn between the here and there.
Work-Life Harmony: Because work and personal life are congruous, not contradictory, Chapp is paving a path to a realistic work-life harmony that begets peace of mind and assuredness. The two separate profiles feature, work and personal, allows Chapp users to arrange their contacts by relationship and swap both profiles for seamless management of work and personal communications—all under one account. Say goodbye to the hassle of having to sift through all the messages to dig out the ones that need your attention right now.
Mute: The organized separation of contacts enables another feature: mute by profile. Chapp users choose which profile to activate and when. At work: mute the personal profile. At home: mute the work profile. Time to wind down: Mute both profiles. No more notifications to disturb your peaceful moments and no more work communication trespassing on your family time.
Control: Part of digital wellbeing is to decide who can be in touch with you. Chapp translates this into the message requests feature. Now that we are running all our errands online, each day we are sharing our phone number with complete strangers. Chapp knows how to make strangers keep their distance. Any time someone who is not in your contacts messages you for the first time, you will receive a message request, not the message itself. Click accept to let the message through or reject to keep the stranger outside.
Safe and Secure Communication: All kinds of wellbeing encompass safety and security. On this front, Chapp presents to its users utmost privacy and safety measures. With end-to-end encryption, the messages you exchange can only be accessed on the two devices used in the communication—i.e., the sender’s and the recipients. Your contact list itself is treated as highly confidential: it is saved only on your phone with no copies availed on a third party server or a cloud.
The features that Chapp incorporated from its launching moment realize the work-life harmony and take digital wellbeing to a new level with free decision making. You do not need to hide out, deactivate your account, turn off your phone, or build a fortress around yourself to enjoy peace of mind. You can keep your mobile turned on, your Chapp running, your account active, but simply adjust your settings and swap profiles to either indulge in the daily hustle and bustle of the city or find an escape to the serenity of a carefree mood.
The world is changing; but Chapp won’t let these changes drag you down. Communicate mindfully; and then let go of your smartphone. Chapp to keep pace with the world and still live the work-life harmony.