App monitors cell phone activity

The prospect of a phone application that can monitor the amount of time you spend on your phone is a little terrifying.

It is easy to tell ourselves we do not spend as much time on our phones as we do when no one is looking, but seeing the hard numbers of our habits is another thing entirely.

The application is simple: The Moment app runs as a program behind your other applications, slowly tallying up both the number of minutes you have used your phone and the number of times you pick it up each day.

Moment offers its users the chance to limit their phone usage based on their ideal maximum usage, with limits starting at five minutes and going as high as six hours per day.

Users can set the time period during which Moment tracks their phone usage as well, so that the phone does not monitor usage periods while the phone user is asleep.

Once you have reached half of your allotted usage time, the Moment app will notify you.

For example, if you set your maximum phone usage to one hour per day, 30 minutes will pass before you receive a usage warning, followed by a one hour notification encouraging you to go the rest of your day without cellphone usage.

If you are willing to pay for the app, Moment does offer premium features that give you the ability to effectually lock yourself out of your phone.

You can limit usage during certain times of the day individually, or even monitor and lock other Apple devices under the same account during certain times via a central system called Moment Family.

While the app is definitely well thought out, and while the concept of Moment is a good idea in theory, it is unlikely that being told how you use your phone is going to do anything but guilt you, if it affects your behavior at all.

If you are interested in finding out just how much you use your phone on a regular basis, downloading Moment might be a fun experiment.

Otherwise, it serves little practical purpose until you have children and want to monitor their electronics usage.

Within the app, auto-location tracking, which allows the app to track your movements along in order to tell you where you use your phone the most. This feature is a huge battery drain and is not of much use.

More than anything, this app is useful if you want to practice disciplining yourself.

Otherwise, this app feels more like something created to get data for a social experiment rather than something integral to your cellphone experience.

About Joanna Andrews

Online Features Editor

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