ZenScreen Journey Coming To An End

In 2017, we started ZenScreen because we felt very strongly that tech industry-driven screen addiction will be a significant problem for mental health and wellness of kids and adults alike.

Over the years, we have built a strong product with intelligent features to help people moderate screen time. We have great users who provided valuable feedback and showed patience as we continued to improve the app. We are proud that our app helped in providing millions of distraction-free hours.

We are grateful for the opportunity to serve you all… but unfortunately, it is time for us to shut down the service. 

We are very proud of the fact that following our innovation in this space, Apple and Google have taken screen time management seriously and have built-in digital wellness solutions into their platform. We believe that for most users, a solution that is natively built into the platform is going to work best. You can learn more about iOS here and Android here

Last day for ZenScreen service will be Oct 13, 2020. After that time, screen time usage reporting and blocking will cease to work. 

As a team, we are very passionate about digital safety and wellness solutions for families and kids. We will continue to work on new and innovative solutions in this space and hope to delight you all again with some new products soon.

Thank you for taking charge of your mental wellness. 

– ZenScreen Team.

Customize App Categories

We try to make ZenScreen as simple to use as possible. So we automatically categorize every app into 3 categories:

Entertainment: We count time spent on these apps and block them based on your settings

Productive: These apps are blocked only during Calm Nights and Quiet time

Ignore: These apps are never counted or blocked 

While we try to assign each app to the best category possible but we know that we will not get it right for each app. So now, we provide you with the ability to change the category of any app with one tap.

iOS App – Standard vs Advance Mode

We are constantly working hard to make ZenScreen easier to install and use. As part of that ongoing effort, we have introduced 2 modes of how you can use the iOS app.

Standard Mode: This mode is super simple to install and get started. In a matter of 2-3 taps, you are all set. You can use all smart controls like Smart Mornings, Zen Breaks, Daily time limit, etc.

What’s great about this mode is that if you already have an MDM Profile (Mobile Device Management) installed on your iOS device via your school or work, you can still use ZenScreen with Standard Mode.

Advance Mode: Once you have installed the standard mode, you will get the option to install Advance Mode for FREE. In Advance mode, we install an MDM profile that allows us to provide some more features to you. For instance:

  1. You can see time spent on individual apps (as opposed to the category of apps)
  2. You have the choice to make all apps disappear at night (if kids play offline games)
  3. You can change the category of each app installed on the device (as opposed to a list of ~100 in standard mode)

Hopefully, one of these modes will work great for you and your family and you continue your journey to better digital health 🙏🏼

Install “App Organizer” to keep iOS apps in order

ZenScreen has always given our users a choice of two blocking types:

1. Pause Internet
2. App Block

You can read all about the two modes here:

App Block is an awesome way to unplug for a while. The mental relaxation of not having apps stare at you and send you notifications all the time is something that is hard to describe and best experienced.

But there was a problem… due to a well known Apple bug, apps would get rearranged alphabetically when App Block was used. For many users, that is a hard tradeoff to make.

Well, now we have a solution to that problem. We call that “App Organizer”.

Installing “App Organizer” on your (or kid’s) iOS device is easy. Make sure you update your iOS app to version 3.1.0 from the App Store. Then launch ZenScreen, go to menu, and tap on “Install App Organizer”. Then follow the simple steps once and you are set.

Once you have followed the steps (including restarting the device), you can try “App Block” mode and decide for yourselves if you prefer that or “Pause Internet”. We will continue to support both modes.

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.