Time to outsmart the smart phone!

11th December 2017
Time to outsmart the smart phone!
Texting...even on Diwali.. screen grab from a Motorola video

The smart phone is 10 years old. In so many ways it rules our lives. Is it time to wrest control back?
IndiaTechOnline  O P I N I O N
December 11 2017: Ten years ago in 2007, Apple launched the iPhone, pushing the mobile phone into a 'smart' new era that went beyond  voice calls and text messages to  a touch-sensitive,  Internet-connected  lifestyle statement. Come January, it will be 10 years since the first  devices fueled by the free  system, Android, exploded the  reach and made  the smart phone a  mass market tool,  affordable by millions.
In the decade since then,   the portable phone  has  changed  the way we  shop, learn, bank,   relax, plan travel, connect with family and friends. It has erased  boundaries between work and play. Your office is where ever you can plug in.  Techies enjoy the luxury of often 'working from home', but this has led  to an inability to ever detach from work.
 According to a recent study,  by McAfee -- "Digital Detox" --  of the holiday habits of Indians,  more than half of respondents (52%") indicated that they spend at least an hour a day while on vacation, using their connected devices. Thirty-eight percent could not last a day without checking either work or personal email and 37%  checked  social media at least once a day. More than half (54%) could not  spend 24 hours without texting.  We realize the harm from junk food. What about junk information? The phone,  it seems,   has taken over our lives. It is time to wrest control back.
Motorola, the makers, 44 years ago, of the first   -- and relatively unsmart -- mobile phone,  has taken the lead in 
helping people achieve a better phone life-balance.  They  recently conducted an India-wide survey of phone usage and entrusted Professor Shyleswari M Rao, Director,  Ved Vyas Inner Space, Chennai  and Dean Consultant of the Indian Society of Applied Behavioral Science, New Delhi,  with analyzing the findings.  During Diwali 2017, Motorola recorded and put  on YouTube a revealing video  of how Indians never let go of their phones, even amidst all the festivities. 
And to help us prevent our phones from gate crashing into the best moments of our lives,  there is now  an app called Offtime  for Android, which lets you track and customize your connectivity (and limit phone usage) so you can do the things that matter.   it encourages you to unplug,  focus on your work, have quality time without distractions with the people you care about, or simply enjoy some peace of mind. The help will help you, over  a chosen period,  to block calls, texts and notifications that might disturb you.  You can however select the people who can still get through, say family members or  in an emergency. It will also alert you when  you  exceed your own  preset  limits on smart phone usage.
 In an age of hyper-connectivity, it is time to disconnect, a little!  ANAND PARTHASARATHY