App in ‘monk mode’ to limit the use of social media: how does it work?

Disconnecting from social media has become increasingly difficult for many. To achieve this, however, there are new “tricks” that can help limit online distractions and allow us to concentrate on what we are doing offline, preventing us from scrolling posts on Instagram or even browsing any web page. In jargon it is called “monk mode”: it is an app called Freedomwhich saw its users grow by 50 percent in 2020 and has continued to expand to now number 2.5 million globally.

Set a block via the app

How does it work? The app allows you to block access to social media, certain websites or any Internet connection on your mobile phone. It is the user who chooses how long the duration of the requested block will be, and it is obviously also possible to decide to remove it. Lock that can even be “sealed” so that it cannot be unlocked until the appointed time and day. Curious, certainly, that to spend less time on social media we are asked to install an app on our smartphone.

The difficulty of “resisting alone” digital temptation

Speaking of Freedom, the BBC tells of the case of Susie Alegre, a human rights lawyer living in London, who blocks her access to the Internet when she needs to concentrate. “I think it’s extremely difficult to resist the temptation to check social media while you work alone,” explains the woman. “I use the Freedom app when I want to be able to be contacted by phone but don’t want any other distractions.” According to Fred Stutzman, founder of the Freedom app, “social media hires the best scientists to make its use more stimulating, it is not fair to expect an individual to be able to distance themselves.” Stutzman also said he had the idea to design Freedom when he was at university, after realizing that he spent more time on Facebook than on his thesis.

The hashtag #monkmode is very popular

More and more users around the world are turning to apps that help them resist digital distractions (there are others in addition to Freedom, such as ColdTurkeyì and FocusMe), choosing “monk mode”. In recent weeks the hashtag #monkmode has been becoming popular online, reaching numbers in excess of 77 million views worldwide compared to 31 million in the month of May.