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Just like food, a balanced ‘digital diet’ of screen time is key to health and happiness

Screen addiction and distraction is a significant challenge for our generation. According to Nielsen, the average American spends 10 hours a day looking at screens — checking their phones 47 times per day for up to 5 hours. This is a problem for everyone, especially for families with kids, as covered by BBC and 60 Minutes.

Unfortunately, the tech industry is taking a page from the playbook of the junk food industry. Fast food uses a careful combination of salt, sugar, and fat to make their food addictive. Similarly, the tech industry is using a combination of push notifications, infinite scrolling, and vanity actions (likes, retweets) to continually pull us back into their apps and constantly checking our phones for that next update.

Waiting another 20 years to figure out how screen addiction is hurting our health should not be an acceptable course of action. We need to act now to establish healthy digital habits for ourselves and our kids — but we could all use some day-to-day help.

For some perspective, we created a digital health pyramid (like the old U.S. government food pyramid) to demonstrate what a healthy day might look like for the average user

Today, however, it’s nearly impossible to accurately track how much time you’re spending on the phone and what you’re doing during that time. Moreover, it’s completely up to you to enforce any changes in your behavior and put the phone down when you’re done with work or during family time.

That’s why we’ve built ZenScreen and I’m excited to announce that we’re launching today across iOS, Android, and the Chrome browser.

ZenScreen is the first AI that can guide you and your family to create better screen time habits and track how you’re spending time on your smartphone and on the computer.

With ZenScreen, we’re introducing an easy, balanced approach to monitoring and improving your ‘digital diet’:

  1. Understand your screen usage: ZenScreen breaks down screen time into productive vs entertainment-based use.
  2. Get some advice from our digital assistant on how to improve your screen habits.
  3. Turn on any management controls that make sense for you, such as:
    Smart Mornings: you can scroll through your phone for 10 minutes when you wake up, then take a 20-minute break
    Zen Breaks: periodic breaks during the day that pause your apps and let you look up from your phone
    Daily Limit: set an entertainment limit so you don’t find yourself scrolling through Twitter for hours on end
    Calm Nights: restrict distracting social media apps before bed, so you can set a healthy bedtime routine for you and your kids

When it comes to managing kids’ screen time, we’ve also tried to take the fairest and most inclusive approach possible. Kids are the most vulnerable to screen distraction and many parents worry about how much time their kids spend on social media and games. ZenScreen allows parents to set limits and restrict certain apps throughout the day but also empowers parents to lead by example. If parents tell their kids to eat broccoli, parents often eat some themselves. That’s why ZenScreen is the first app that allows parents to transparently set their own limits and team up with their kids to create better habits as a family.