This app can cut your social media usage in half
Called One Sec, the app asks you to breathe and decide if you want to spend time scrolling through social media. Getty Images
- The One Sec app can help reduce screen time by asking you to breathe and set an intention before opening certain target apps.
- One study found that using One Sec for six weeks reduced the use of certain apps, such as social media, by 57%.
- Too much screen time negatively affects mental health and sleep, leading to lower self-esteem and confidence.
It may sound counterintuitive, but an app can cure your cell phone addiction.
A new One Sec app requires you to take a break before diving into your phone. It disrupts what technology reporter Shubham Agarwal explains as the brain’s innate reflex to open an app without intending to.
“Most of our smartphone habits are on autopilot,” Agarwal, who tried the app, told Insider.
When you click on an app, One Sec wants to ask you one question: why?
How many of us are guilty of falling down a rabbit hole on the internet or social media when we only intended to check the location of a restaurant on our maps app? And often certain apps leave us feeling less energized and satisfied after a mindless 30 minutes.
So, “Why do we keep coming back for more?” Jennifer Kelman, a licensed social worker and mental health expert at JustAnswer, previously said Luck.
Social media companies took the jackpot for our attention. Notifications, likes, and comments cause a rush of dopamine, which signals pleasure to the brain. That’s why we “instantly grab the phone,” says Kelman, which can prevent us from enjoying the present moment.
“Our always-on culture isn’t new, but it’s certainly spreading,” says Jennifer Moss, author of the book. The Burnout Epidemic: The Rise of Chronic Stress and Ways to Address It. “We’re looking at our smartwatch while our kids are playing soccer, or we’re looking at a text while we’re trying to read a book.”
Taking a moment to understand why we crave screen time can help break the cycle.
One Sec starts the conversation by asking you to breathe and decide if you want to spend time scrolling through an app, or if the action is caused by stress, boredom, or even a subconscious impulse. You can specifically program One Sec to target activation applications that can be time-wasters without having to go cold turkey.
“Instead, it allows me to think about and decide if I really want to use the app,” Agarwal writes. “When I was mindlessly trying to open Twitter, I felt like the One Sec breathing exercise brought me back to consciousness.”
And this awareness can reduce people’s screen time. According to a study by the University of Heidelberg, those who used One Sec for six weeks reduced their use of targeted applications such as social media by 57%.
“Setting boundaries like this helps us reevaluate our current habits and potentially develop better social media habits that are more in line with our well-being,” Ian Anderson, a behavioral researcher at the University of Southern California, told Insider.
Too much screen time impairs people’s sleep quality and harms their mental health. Low self-esteem and feelings of FOMO have also been linked to social media use, and working online hasn’t helped.
“After the 10-second pause, One Sec shows how many times I’ve tried to open Twitter in the last 24 hours, and since I’ve turned on the ‘intent selector’ tool, I have to specify why I want to open it. Twitter chooses one of the intentions I preset, like ‘Work’ and ‘I can’t sleep,’” says Agarwal. “The app can also send you a ‘Don’t waste’ notification after spending a few minutes on the app.
A cure-all for all app addictions may work for some. Others may consider setting personal limits on social media applications they find exhausting, while others may find it more helpful to prioritize personal relationships and the outdoors.
Whatever you choose, being more mindful about your time is key and can have a lasting impact on your well-being.