Google wants people to log off the internet regularly for a healthy ‘digital well-being’

Google’s I/O 2018 conference revealed the company’s plans to help netizens foster a healthy “digital well-being” without completely abandoning the internet.

The tech company outlined its plans during the Google 2018 conference held at Shoreline Amphitheatre in Mountain View, California last May.

The Digital Wellbeing initiative aims to help users keep track of their online activities, and tell them when to log off and enjoy the real world.

Google plans to accomplish this by monitoring netizen’s internet activity. This can be done through Android mobile phones and YouTube.

A currently in-development Android app presents data on a dashboard which shows the user’s internet and app usage habits. For example, the dashboard could tell users how much time they spent watching videos on YouTube and Netflix on a regular basis; or how many times they have spent using different apps.

The dashboard would then offer the option to limit use of these online services. If limiting usage feels too hard, the user can choose to just set reminders to tell them they’ve been watching too much.

Apart from addressing adults’ usage, Google plans to make the use of technology healthier for kids through the Family Link app. This app acts as a monitoring system, with which parents could approve or block what apps children use. It could also be used to monitor and limit children’s screen time.

Google also created a child-friendly YouTube app called YouTube Kids. The app features a variety of parental controls to make sure kids do not end up watching what they are not supposed to.

A more overarching solution comes in the form of Google Wifi. Google designed the app so that parents could limit the use of the internet for children. It could also be used to block inappropriate content.

Family Link and Google Wifi will be available to users soon. The Android dashboard and YouTube monitoring feature still remains in development, according to the Digital Wellbeing webpage of Google. JB

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