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· 4 min read
Alberto Monge Roffarello

The last few years have seen the flourishing of Digital Self-Control Tools (DSCTs) both in academia and as off-the-shelf products. These tools allow users to self-regulate their technology use. The two screenshots, for example, are taken from Apple Screen Time, an app available on every iOS smartphone. It allows users to monitor time spent and smartphone pickups, with the possibility of defining interventions like usage timers and lock-out mechanisms for specific applications.

Screen Time app on iPhones

While these emerging technologies for behavior change hold great promise to support people’s digital wellbeing, we still have a limited understanding of their real effectiveness, as well as of how to best design and evaluate them.

To close these gaps, we conducted a systematic literature review and a meta-analysis of current work on tools for digital self-control. Our analysis was published on the ACM Trasactions on Computer-Human Interaction, and surfaced motivations, strategies, design choices, and challenges that characterize the design, development, and evaluation of DSCTs.