The One Sec App Is Going Viral For Helping Users Break Phone Addiction

In this day and age, we often find ourselves looking down, glued to our screens rather than at the world around us. Phone addiction is a real problem for a lot of people. You're scrolling and scrolling, and then all of a sudden, hours have gone by, and you feel like you wasted the afternoon. You're not alone, as 54% of young adults in the U.S. meet the criteria for problematic, addictive internet use. It's quite a struggle, considering that social media apps are designed with algorithms that keep us hooked.

Though it's unrealistic to stop using our devices entirely, we can adopt healthier habits and mend the toxic relationships a lot of us have with them. There's a new solution on the rise. In the midst of the COVID-19 lockdown, German app developer Frederik Riedel realized his phone addiction was getting out of control, per an interview with Time Magazine. He used his coding skills to create an app that would not only reduce his screen time but help others as well. The solution was to make people wait and take a breath before opening an app. With that being said, it might just be the thing you need. After all, it's going viral on TikTok for a reason.

How does One Sec work?

Every time we check our phones to see notifications and scroll through social media, we're hit with a rush of dopamine. Instant gratification feels like a little reward, and that's what keeps us addicted, even when we want to do something else. As explained on the app's website, One Sec creates a buffer between you and the app, giving you a moment to think before scrolling. It delays that hit of dopamine, making you less likely to use the addictive apps as often.

People use One Sec to block social media, games, dating apps, news apps, websites — anything that they struggle to put down throughout the day. When you try to open Instagram, for example, you'll see a screen that tells you to take a deep breath and an option to either enter the app or decline. You'll also see how many times you tried opening the app that day.

For more features, there's a "pro" version when you buy the subscription (via One Sec). This gives you the ability to block multiple apps or websites, more alternatives to just the breathing exercise, intention tracking and reminders, and focus sessions. If you're someone who immediately scrolls in the morning, there's even a feature that lets you block apps for a certain amount of time after waking up, as per their website. One Sec has been scientifically proven to help people manage phone addiction, as a 2023 study found that it reduces app usage by 57%. 

Unplugging is good for us

We can all agree — it's much easier to scroll on TikTok than to go work out, read a book, or finish the work we've been putting off. Being on social media feels good at the moment, but too much of anything can have consequences in the long run and make you feel worse. In fact, adults who spend six hours or more a day in front of screens have a higher risk for depression, according to a 2017 study published in Preventive Medicine Reports. 

When we're more intentional with our time, we can do the things that make us feel better. Reducing screen time can improve your physical health, allowing more space for exercise and better sleep. While our phones allow us to easily connect virtually, it's important that we can put them down and connect with people in person. Though it can be hard to put them down, spending downtime away from screens will make you feel more refreshed and productive. Remember to check in and ask yourself, "One sec, do I really need to be on my phone right now?"