Ariana Huffington, who made millions from online media, just created an app to get people off their smartphones

Arianna Huffington. Photo: Jacopo Raule/Getty Images

Ariana Huffington’s wellbeing organisation Thrive Global has created an app for Samsung devices that helps users spend less time immersed in technology.

In August last year, Huffington departed the online news and opinion site Huffington Post, which she co-founded in 2005, to establish Thrive Global. The wellbeing startup, which makes money from corporate training, consumer content and items like cosmetics, pillows and Fitbits, by January had already doubled its revenue targets for 2017.

Now the organisation has created a mobile app for Samsung smartphones, also called Thrive, which allows users to put their phone into “Thrive mode” to block notifications, calls and SMS messages from everyone except those on a “VIP” list. An auto-reply function lets the sender know that the user is taking a break from their handset.

Huffington said Thrive mode is made for “whenever you want to be undisrupted — whether you want to spend time with your children, loved one, do your best work without any distractions — or just sleep”.

The entrepreneur revealed the new software at the Samsung Developer Conference in San Francisco, while sheepishly admitting that her success with Huffington Post was borne by the mass adoption of mobile technology.

“We are longing to also remember that the human operating system needs downtime. Downtime for the human operating system is not a bug, it’s a feature,” she said.

The app also keeps a tally of how much time has been spent on each app – allowing Samsung phone users to keep track of how much time they’ve spent on social media.

“I’m always amazed by how much more time I’m spending on social media than I think I’m spending on social media,” said Huffington.

The Thrive app is in beta testing currently and is scheduled to be released on the Samsung Galaxy app store from December 15.

Aside from using the Thrive app, Huffington had three sure-fire ways everyone could curb their technology usage:

1. Don’t sleep with your phone

“Don’t sleep with your phone… All you have to do is turn it off just before you turn off the lights and charge it anywhere you want outside the bedroom. And if you wake up in the middle of the night, you’re not going to be tempted.”

2. Don’t check your phone as soon as you wake

“The second thing is… not rushing immediately to your phone first thing in the morning. If it’s just taking one minute to breathe deeply and connect to your day.”

3. Delete unnecessary apps

“I do a regular edit of all the icons and all the apps on my homescreen. I only keep the tools that are really useful… Again, to reduce distractions.”

The journalist travelled to San Francisco courtesy of Samsung Australia.


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