The problem with our smartphones and our PC’s is that there are no constraints on how we use them. Any other tools that we can see as being remotely dangerous have design features in them that prevent us from misusing them. Think the safety on guns. With the internet, we’re allowed to do whatever we want and there’s no way to protect ourselves.
To be fair, the main problem is that Tim Berners Lee, the research team at Xerox PARC, Steve Jobs, or the guy who invented email could never have foreseen all the potential ramifications and negative use cases of their creations.
Thankfully a lot of developers in the community have responded by creating software that helps us prevent a lot of the negative use cases of the internet. I’ve listed my favorites below, feel free to share any you might have discovered or ask any questions about the software.
These are my recommendations as of today:
PC & Mac
RescueTime was the first “holy shit I’m an internet addict” moment I had. It revealed to me that I spent almost 7 hours a day on reddit and youtube. It gave me the motivation to actually block these sites with web blockers. I now use it for gentle nudges to remind if I’ve gone too far off my “productivity zone”.
Cold Turkey is great if you want to block specific sites like youtube, reddit, or facebook. The paid version also allows you to set up schedules to block things in advance. (I think it was worth the money)
K9 Web Protection
K9 is great if you want more power than Cold Turkey and want to block entire categories of websites like “news” or “shopping”. Unfortunately it’s not the most user friendly software for self moderation.
This was PM’ed to me by a redditor, haven’t used it personally. It seems like the only option on Linux.
Moment is like Rescuetime for your phone. Timeguard let’s you block apps like chrome, instagram etc.
Quality time tracks your use and also let’s you set breaks away from your phone with apps to allow as exceptions. It’s actually really useful, I just wish the override period for the breaks was longer. The max right now is only 5 minutes, which means if you really wanted to, you could override the break period to get back into your phone.