Comcast’s Xfinity Mobile has created a seven-day challenge called “The Phone Cleanse,” that’s meant to make you more aware of how you use your phone... and then try to sell you on a switch to its network.
The website gives straightforward pieces of advice that should be familiar to anyone who has tried to streamline their phone’s contents and how it’s used. Some of the suggestions include deleting apps you haven’t used in a while, turning your screen to grayscale to make opening apps less enticing, and putting your phone out of reach when going to bed (or, even better, not keeping it in the bedroom altogether).
These, and the remainder of the website’s suggestions, are not bad! Sometimes we do need a little push to put down our phones or dump some of the accumulated nonsense that piles up over the months. But scroll down to the bottom and there’s a push to switch your phone over to Xfinity and maybe get a prepaid card. Under each phone cleanse recommendation there are prompts to share on Twitter and Facebook, which makes it feel even more like a bait and switch. Not everything should be shared on social media, especially distracting prompts about how you’re trying an exercise in non-distraction? Capitalizing on well-being for a marketing campaign just feels icky.
Comcast is far from the first company to offer tips and tools for digital well-being, however. Both Apple and Google are adding new dashboards that offer perspectives on how you spend your time while on your phone, Facebook just added a new feature called “Your Time On Facebook,” and Instagram is introducing “Your activity.” All these tools aim to give insight on how much time you spend in certain apps, let you set time limits, and more.
Also, it should be noted that there’s a hard copy book of the phone cleanse. I don’t know why. But it exists, and you can tweet Xfinity Mobile to get one shipped to you for free.
Disclosure: Comcast is an investor in Vox Media, The Verge’s parent company.