Admit it, you kind of are an addict. Here’s the help you need

Leonard Sengere Avatar
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Let’s be honest, there is no way you are ever leaving your home and venturing out into the wilderness without your trusty block of tech in your pocket. By block of tech I mean phone, obviously, and by wilderness I mean anywhere, including church, wherever that is. On that phone, if I were a gambler, I would bet my bottom dollar you have at least one social media app installed. I would also bet that app is the sole reason you even have that phone.

You have seen me in a kombi, head buried in my phone and I have seen you texting and walking (stop it please, it is dangerous). No one seems to be able to wait till they get home to check on their Grade 3 classmate and their one time neighbour from 2002. What is wrong with us? Scientists are actually studying this and have already coined some terms for some of our strange behaviours. Have you ever felt your phone vibrate or ring and pulled it out to see no unread messages or missed calls? You could have sworn you felt it vibrate but alas, your mind played tricks on you.

Phantom vibrations. That is what scientists are calling that phenomenon. The way we are interacting with our phones is changing our very brains. That is scary stuff but that is not really why we are here. It’s not like you need convincing that you have a problem, you know how your productivity has suffered. Remember how you almost got run over that time you veered into the road engrossed in a fierce argument in a WhatsApp group about whether Olinda was right to forgive Stunner. I rest my case, now onto the remedy.

It is going to sound counterintuitive but the solution to your app addiction is, uh, an app. That app is FlipD. It is a no nonsense distraction squashing tool that will ensure you keep your hands off your phone. You are able to set a timer, say one hour, during which time you are locked out of your phone. You can whitelist a few apps which you can use in this state but apart from a few default ones you probably don’t use anyway, there are three slots available. To use these slots you have to buy the PRO version of the app, which you are not going to do.

This is great for when you want to work or study and do not want any distractions or maybe just want to detox, lay back and relax. There are two modes to choose from, the I-trust-myself mode (which probably won’t help you) and the full lock mode. The full lock mode is exactly that, a full lock. You do get 60 seconds to check your phone per session, just in case but other than that you are cut off from the world. You get to choose 4 emergency numbers you can call in this state though, so you can put your spouse here. Your boss can still call you as you can receive calls, you won’t miss emergencies.

There are a few other features in the app which might be useful to some but if you really want extra features there are other apps. (OFFTIME) – Distraction Free will let you set the number of hours per day you allow yourself to be on an app, for example a maximum of 2 hours on WhatsApp. You need that, be honest with yourself. There are more stats available as well so you can see just exactly what it is you are consuming your life on.

What if you have kids and want to limit the amount of time they spend on their phones or tablets. You cannot trust them to lock themselves out, now can you? There is an app for that. Screen Time Parental Control is the answer. You can set time limits on selected apps, bedtime curfew, lights out and school time curfews. You did the 21st century thing and got your child a tablet, now do the 20th century thing and control their usage of it. You have to install the app on their phone and a companion app on yours. The child cannot uninstall the app without the password that you set. It’s foolproof.

Are you going to try this rehab of sorts to cure your addiction or are you still in denial about your dependence? Or maybe you are not under any delusion but just do not care? Or maybe you realise there is a problem but do not think you have what it takes to kick the bad habit? You might not choose to limit your usage but please, for the love of the future generations, control your child’s. Do let us know what you think in the comments below.


  1. Christerbel Erica Mujaranji

    Hahaha lol guilty as charged,..thanks for sharing and contentious will surely try the FlipD app!

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Do try it and let us know how you get on with it.

      @leosengere, @techzim on Twitter

  2. Tabo

    That is just a useless article useless app the real problem is bandwidth is to expensive and non existent speeds if 1gb was say $5 for 30 days over a period of 3 months data usage regarding apps would be quiet low as it tedious people will start using the internet for more purposeful reasons. Also the real nonsense is selling whats app bundles influences usage of the app great cash cow the operator less bandwidth

    1. Leonard Sengere

      You raise some serious issues there. We have discussed some of them before and will continue to do so until we see change. This article indeed was not about that but it is something we all needed to hear. This is something we can do right now rather than lobby for someone to change.

  3. Raphael

    Nice article

    1. Leonard Sengere

      Thank you Raphael.

  4. Dopori

    Whenever my wife of over 32 years wakes up in the middle of the night to go to the loo, she takes her phone with her – it’s like a ritual!, and can spend as much as 30 minutes in the toilet.It can’t just be the poo or the wewi! Then there’s the cooking. She often burns food and pots because she’s busy on whatsapp every time. She’s 60! So much for the addiction you are talking about.

    1. Leonard Sengere

      It really has become a problem. Here in Zim, WhatsApp is the chief culprit. The sad thing is that most of us do not see anything alarming about our phone usage. You cannot have conversations with people anymore, with half their attention somewhere else you cannot discuss anything meaningful. I feel for you and I feel for those I subject to the same.

  5. Carol

    Very true . It is an addiction and im an addict.. Will definitely try the app with my spouse ,we usually spend 5hrs watching a 2hr movie because we would be constantly rewinding it.

  6. Ray

    What an article . thank you for sharing