• Studies have shown that smartphone addiction is a real problem
  • Google has released three new apps that will aid in the fight against smartphone addiction
  • The new apps are now available in the Play Store

Smartphones have changed the way people communicate with each other and do things on their own. These devices allow humans to communicate with people from afar, keep notes and reminders without the need to bring pens and notebooks, and keep photos of fun and happy memories for them to share.

Despite these perceived benefits it's a fact that smartphone usage also has its downsides. One of these is smartphone addiction.

More users are addicted to their smartphones than most people know. Just last month, a study involving 42,000 adolescents in London found that at least 25 percent of all kids who used smartphones are addicted to their handsets, Phone Arena reported.

Some of these participants were so addicted to smartphone usage that they even suffered from withdrawal symptoms once their devices were taken from them. The study's findings simply indicate that smartphone addiction is real and is a problem that needs to be solved.

Thankfully, one of the biggest names in smartphones has decided to work on helping users curb their smartphone addiction. Google, maker of Android, which is one of the most popular mobile operating systems today, has released three apps designed to discourage people from using their smartphones all the time.

First is “Activity Bubbles,” an app that shows users how many times they've unlocked their devices and how long they used the device in every instance. The app uses bubbles to do this – a bubble is created every time the screen is unlocked, and grows bigger and bigger until the screen is closed. The bubbles stay on the screen for the rest of the day to tell users about their smartphone usage.

Second is “Screen Stopwatch,” an app that puts a stopwatch in the middle of the screen. This stopwatch will activate and record the amount of time a user spends using his phone. The stopwatch will stop when the screen is locked, and continue counting once the screen is unlocked again. The app will report the total amount of time the user spent using his smartphone at the end of the day.

The last and most interesting app of the three is called “Envelope,” an app that currently supports the Pixel 3a only. This app is used alongside “envelopes” – real envelopes specially designed to limit what a user can do with his Pixel 3a. The envelopes essentially turn the Pixel 3a into a dumbphone that can only be used to make calls or take pictures.

The first two apps were created by Google Creative Lab, while the third app was created by Google's Special Projects – Experiments division.

Google Pixel 4 XL 4 Google Pixel 4 XL Photo: Jeff Li/IBTimes