The most recent noise from our continually ill-informed public watchdogs is that Apple should help customers with their iPhone addictions. Did anyone call on Google to do the same thing since they have twice as many Android users as Apple has iOS customers?
No, of course not. That’s not how the public watchdogs watch things. Yes, addictions are real. No, it’s not Apple’s responsibility to inhibit customers usage of their products. Alright, that said, Google has a nifty application that the iPhone needs. It’s called Family Link.
Monitor The Monitors
Here’s the problem. We have iPhones and Android-based smartphones and both platforms have a gazillion applications, and thanks to our addiction to dopamine, we humans get addicted to notifications, alerts, alarms, games, texting, Instagram, Facebook, and, well, applications. Google’s Family Link app helps parents monitor their children’s smartphone usage.
The Family Link app from Google helps you stay in the loop as your child (under 13) uses their Android device. Family Link lets you create a Google Account for your child that’s like your account, with access to most Google services, while also helping you set certain digital ground rules.
Uh oh. I see some problems in the solution. Another Google account for a family member. Let me skip over that for a moment and go to the good stuff that Apple could copy. Tell me if you think some of this kind of monitoring could be useful.
- Manage the apps your child can use – Approve or block the apps your child wants to download from the Google Play store.
- Keep an eye on screen time – See how much time your child spends on their favorite apps with weekly or monthly activity reports, and set daily screen time limits.
- Set device bedtime – Remotely lock devices when it’s time for bed, or time to take a break.
I’m thinking this is a good idea, but I would prefer Apple put their own unique privacy and security spin on it instead of the way Google does it by tracking everyone in your household. Who monitors Google’s monitors, anyway?
So, what do we really want Apple to do?
First, more granular controls and monitoring of which apps we use and when. Yes, the battery shaming in the Battery section helps a bit, but it’s anemic. I want to know how much time is spent using a specific application on my iPhone, when I spend that time, and give me some controls which help to limit when I can access those apps. Oh, and add to it more granular controls for notifications (alerts, badges, alarms, etc) so they’re not bothering me all the time. Think Do Not Disturb with steroids so it can inhibit such notifications to a time period on a per-app basis.
See how that could work?
It takes Google’s parental monitoring in Family Link and makes it useful on a personal basis. Now, for a child’s phone, make the whole process secure by a password known only to the parent so the settings stay intact.
Easy peasy, right?