Lock n’ LoL: App to detox you from smartphone addiction

Seoul, Dec 17 (IANS) Tired of WhatsApp messages and e-mail pings during a key client meet? Well, here comes an app that will lock the smartphone altogether and keep you from using it while engaged in activities such as meetings, conferences and discussions.

Called “Lock n’ LoL” (Lock Your Smartphone and Laugh Out Loud) and developed by researchers from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) in Daejeon, South Korea, the app helps people restrain themselves from using smartphones during meetings or social gatherings.

It allows users to create a new room or join an existing room. The users then invite meeting participants or friends to the room and share its ID with them to enact the Group Limit (lock) mode.

When phones are in the lock mode, all alarms and notifications are automatically muted and users must ask permission to unlock their phones.

However, in an emergency, users can access their phones for accumulative five minutes in a temporary unlimit mode.

“We conducted the ‘Lock n’ LoL’ campaign throughout the campus for one month this year with 1,000 students participating. We discovered that students accumulated more than 10,000 free hours from using the app on their smartphones,” said lead researcher professor Uichin Lee.

The students were able to focus more on their group activities.

“In an age of the ‘Internet of Things’, we expect that the adverse effects of mobile distractions and addictions will emerge as a social concern, and our Lock n’ LoL is a key effort to address this issue,” he noted.

In addition, the app’s “Co-location Reminder” detects and lists nearby users to encourage app users to limit their phone use.

The “Lock n’ LoL” also displays important statistics to monitor users’ behaviour such as the current week’s total limit time, the weekly average usage time, top friends ranked by time spent together and top activities in which the users participated.

“This app will certainly help family members to interact more with each other during the holiday season,” profesor Lee added.

The “Lock n’ LoL” is available for free download on the App Store and Google Play

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