Off the top of your head, how much time do you think you spend using apps?
Chances are, you’re way off.
Leading app market data and insights company, App Annie, reveals that Australians used apps for an incredible 130 minutes per day in the first quarter of 2017. And that figure has undoubtedly gone up since. According to the data, we use on average more than 10 different apps throughout the day and have an average of just under 100 apps on our phones—that’s more than Americans and Europeans. Apps have seemingly worked their way into our daily routine, and they’re here to stay.
So, does this warrant a thumbs up or thumbs down?
Many believe that technology in general is moving further away from its original promise; make lives better. You only need to look to app-accessible tech companies like Uber or Facebook to see that good technology, often with good intentions, is not necessarily technology that does good.
Shockingly, yet understandably, there are a number of serious implications that excessive app usage present that are even more concerning than something like privacy infringement on a global scale. Take for example, social fragmentation. Despite being more connected than ever, loneliness and depression is on the rise. How? Why?
Simply put, apps have rendered the need for meaningful social interaction, unnecessary. Choosing to interact with others, complete tasks and derive instant gratification via apps now replaces our fundamental need to interact and socialise (in the traditional sense). And all these are major contributors to modern phenomenons like the depression epidemic. Multiple studies have found that loneliness is set to reach epidemic proportions through the Western world by 2030, a sentiment echoed by 82.5% of Australians who believe that loneliness is on the rise.
One thing is clear. If we’re going to spend more time online (which will happen), rather than reducing our face time with apps (which won’t), it is now more important than ever that the apps at our fingertips have our best interests in mind, and at heart.
Although—for better or worse—entertainment and social apps still get the most touches, we are increasingly choosing to embrace apps designed to enrich and improve our lives. This is good news. Apps like Blinkist, that help people consume books in a matter of minutes, or Calm, the app that helps promote mindfulness for less stress, are fast becoming as integral to our app schedule as the alarm clock. This is encouraging because it shows that we are turning to apps that offer value. Real value.
What’s more, because of the demand for such apps, we are not only using them, we are creating them—and some damn good ones at that. One proudly grown in our very own backyard is virtual greening app – Plant Life Balance.
Recently picking up two prestigious Webby Awards—‘Best Lifestyle Mobile Site and App’ and the coveted ‘People’s Voice Award’—the augmented reality app lets you virtually style your home with indoor plants to help you transform not only your space…but also your health and wellbeing. Health and wellbeing you say?
According to the NASA Clean Air Study (1989), the humble houseplant is not only responsible for dramatically improving air quality—by scrubbing it of harmful toxins—but has been proven to reduce stress levels, elevate mood and improve concentration.
In collaboration with RMIT University and the University of Melbourne, Plant Life Balance cleverly utilizes data from collated plant studies to give your room a ‘health rating’. By simply dragging and dropping in more plants, you can boost your health score and discover just how much good a couple of succulents can add to your quality of life.
With apps like Plant Life Balance finding new ways to deliver health and happiness on a daily basis, maybe we can rest easy knowing that although apps are on the up and up, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. Moving forward, if app users and creators alike continue to choose to use this exposure to better your life and the lives of those around you, then technology might still be able to make good on its promise.