Checky app helps curb smartphone addiction

How often do we check our phones? Twenty-seven times a day if you’re in the United Kingdom and a shocking 46 times if you’re in the United States, according to a Deloitte study.

If you want to find out how often we do it here in the UAE – where each person has an average of 1.7 smartphones – it’s time to download Checky and get a handle on your mobile addic­tion.

An addiction it is. It seems most of us feel the need to check our email every hour to feel we are on top of work. Then we take a photo of lunch, add it to Instagram, see who’s up to what on Facebook and Twitter. Who looked at your profile on Linked­In? What’s coming up in your diary? Then a breaking news alert goes off. Then a WhatsApp comes in, an SMS. The phone actually rings …

Checky answers a simple question: how many times a day do I check my phone?

Available for free on ioS and Play, one user says: “It’s not 100 per cent accurate, but it gives you an idea. It makes you stop and reflect on your daily device usage”.

Like many of us, Checky founder Alex Tew, 32, from the UK, who created the app in 2014, says he is also addicted to his smartphone.

“Most days I check my phone over 100 times. In fact, yesterday I checked my phone 124 times. Today I’m at 76, so far,” he says.

“Having this new awareness makes it easier to control my phone usage. My new goal is to check less than 100 times a day.”

Checky tells you how many times you’ve looked today and how many times you checked yesterday. It’s that simple. There’s little else on offer – but it is free, after all.

After a week I had forgotten to keep Checky open (and it doesn’t work unless it runs in the background), but I had the gist by then.

The results are not pretty – I’m at around 60 times a day. And of course that doesn’t begin to ­cover the number of times I check my laptop, tablet and even my fitness tracker. Time for a digital detox.

q&a helping to curb addiction

Suzanne Locke expands on the usefulness of Checky for curbing the addiction to smartphones:

It sounds simple – why hasn’t it been done before?

It has – there is another app called Moments. But rather than the number of checks, Moments tells you how many minutes you’re spending on your phone and can set goals to decrease the time spent.

If it’s free, how’s Checky making money?

Effectively it works as a reminder to use its sister app Calm, a meditation tool which has raised US$1 million in funding.

Is the app any good?

It’s been given four stars on the Google Play store by more than 4,700 people, so it can’t be all bad.

What are the most popular smartphone brands in the UAE?

According to the app creation platform appmakr, the Samsung rules supreme in the Emirates, followed by Apple and BlackBerry.

So how many smartphones are there in the UAE?

The UAE has 17 million mobile users, according to the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, and a 200 per cent penetration rate, making it the highest in the world. According to appmakr, almost 74 per cent of the population are smartphone users.

Does Checky have any other features?

You can ask it to notify you at noon how many times you checked your phone yesterday, or when it stops running.

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Suzanne Locke

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