Like the US Surgeon General Call for a warning sign On social media sites, similar to those found on tobacco products, a startup is launching a set of new tools that put the power to combat app addiction in the hands of users. Designed for iOS, the roots It offers an improvement over traditional screen time apps by measuring not only the time you spend on devices, but also the quality of that time spent in different apps using a “digital dopamine” tracker. Other features allow users to isolate themselves from more addictive apps and add reminders to stop obsessively scrolling through algorithmic social feeds, among other things.

Co-founded by an entrepreneur and developer Clint Jarvisthe idea for Roots came from his own experiences reaching the point of burnout in the startup world.

Initially, he tried to create a more balanced routine for himself by making time for things like meditation and getting outside, which later led him to start working on a nature-based mindfulness app. However, while participating in Wildwood Ventures’ Entrepreneur-in-Residence Program, the app’s focus shifted to tackling the more pressing issue of the unhealthy way people interact with their devices.

“If you just think about the mission of the product, it’s to help people find a better balance with technology,” Jarvis explains. “We live in a very digital world… Our phones are amazing tools. But they are also very addictive,” he says. “We need to think about the phone more as a relationship… How do we set boundaries?”

Roots is designed to help people get a better handle on what kind of apps are worth spending time on and which aren’t.

Image credits: the roots

“Ten minutes on your Kindle isn’t the same as 10 minutes on Twitter [now called X]“Digital dopamine gives you a way to measure the impact of what you do on your phone,” Jarvis notes.

This “digital dopamine” is a reference to the brain chemical also known as the “feel-good” hormone that can be… antiquities Through the use of social media and other addictive applications.

With Roots, you can set better intentions, like how much time you want to spend scrolling and when you want to block that behavior. The built-in digital dopamine tracker measures the quality of your screen time across different apps and turns it into actionable insights that help you make decisions about your technology use.

The app features a bunch of tools to break the cycle of scrolling, including standard things like scheduling downtime and app limits by specific apps or categories. The app integrates with Apple’s Screen Time API to help configure some of these settings.

However, it also goes a step further with things like the ‘Monk Mode’ feature that lets you get serious about stopping scrolling by providing the ability to set limits and bans that you can’t cross. You can’t even log out of Roots, change your phone’s date and time, or use other workarounds to bypass this specific feature. In beta testing, users loved this mode because it allowed them to finally put a hard limit on their most addictive apps.

Image credits: the roots

Roots also offers a “Balance Score” that quantifies how much people use their phones in a subjective way, to help you see where and how you can improve. Over time, Roots may add some sort of leaderboard that lets people see how they compare to others as well.

Another feature can appear as a reminder to stop scrolling, which you can personalize with personalized suggestions for other activities, like reading a book, spending time with family, going for a walk, and more.

The freemium app generates income through in-app subscriptions of $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year. Paid plans offer more advanced features like Monk Mode and digital dopamine report, among others.

Image credits: the roots

While using Roots, you can create streaks while staying within screen time limits, allowing you to earn rewards, such as cheat days. Premium subscribers who practice good habits will also be given a physical swipe stop, which presents a “speed bump” that you can place on your phone — something like a Livestrong bracelet or rubber band. Scroll Stop makes you rethink swiping apps when you pick up your phone.

Image credits: the roots

In beta tests, Roots helped the average user reduce screen time by two hours per day, Jarvis says.

Although Roots began as a solo project by Jarvis, who now serves as CEO, today the app was co-founded by others including the head of design. Pontus Wilgraph, who has previously worked on design projects for MasterClass, Netflix, Microsoft, Huawei, Samsung, and Ford; Head of User Experience Vikram Chauhanwhich he also founded Tranquil Gardens InternationalIt is a non-profit organization focused on reducing noise pollution and providing quiet spaces in nature; And head of development Czech Marcin.

The startup is backed by $550,000 in seed funding from Wildwood Ventures and other angel investors in the Atlanta area.

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