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Roots: This New App Aims to Combat Digital Addiction with AI-Powered Tools

Image Credits: Roots
By: Headliners News / June 21, 2024

Meet Roots, a new iOS app co-founded by entrepreneur Clint Jarvis, aims to help users manage their screen time more effectively by not only tracking the duration of usage but also evaluating the quality of time spent on different apps. With its unique “digital dopamine” tracker, Roots offers tools to combat app addiction, allowing users to take control of their digital lives.

Clint Jarvis, who experienced burnout in the startup world, initially sought a balanced routine through meditation and nature-based mindfulness. This led him to create a nature mindfulness app, but during his tenure in the entrepreneur-in-residence program at Wildwood Ventures, his focus shifted to tackling the problem of unhealthy digital interactions.

The Problem with Current Screen-Time Management

Existing screen-time management apps primarily track how long users spend on their devices without assessing the quality of that time. This approach overlooks the varying impacts different types of app usage can have on users’ well-being.

The Roots’ Solution

Digital Dopamine Tracker

Roots introduces the concept of “digital dopamine,” which quantifies the impact of app usage on the brain’s feel-good hormone, dopamine. This feature helps users distinguish between productive and unproductive screen time, recognizing that 10 minutes on a reading app like Kindle is different from 10 minutes on social media platforms like Twitter.

Intentional Use and Blocking Addictive Apps

Roots allows users to set specific intentions for their screen time, such as limiting social media scrolling. The app includes standard features like downtime scheduling and app limits, integrating with Apple’s Screen Time API for seamless configuration.

Monk Mode

A standout feature of Roots is “Monk Mode,” which enforces strict limits on app usage that cannot be overridden. This mode prevents users from bypassing restrictions by logging out, changing device settings, or other workarounds. In beta testing, this feature has been particularly effective in helping users break addictive habits.

Balance Score and Personalized Reminders

Roots provides a “balance score” to quantify phone use, offering insights for improvement. Personalized reminders can prompt users to engage in alternative activities, like reading or spending time with family, to reduce excessive screen time.

Gamification and Rewards

The app incorporates gamification elements, allowing users to build streaks by staying within their screen time limits. These streaks can earn rewards such as cheat days. Premium subscribers can receive a physical “scroll stopper,” a device designed to create a physical barrier that makes users think twice before engaging in addictive scrolling.

Business Model and Monetization

Freemium Model

Roots operates on a freemium model, offering basic features for free and advanced features, such as Monk Mode and detailed digital dopamine reports, through in-app subscriptions priced at $9.99 per month or $59.99 per year.

Roots Team and Funding

In addition to Clint Jarvis, the Roots core team includes:

  • Pontus Wellgraf (Head of Design): Former designer for MasterClass, Netflix, Microsoft, Huawei, Samsung, and Ford.
  • Vikram Chauhan (Head of User Experience): Founder of Quiet Parks International, focusing on reducing noise pollution and preserving quiet spaces.
  • Marcin Czech (Head of Development).

Funding

Roots has secured $550,000 in pre-seed funding from Wildwood Ventures and other angel investors from the Atlanta area.

Considering Roots Digital Dopamine Tracker

Roots is poised to revolutionize how users interact with their devices by providing tools to measure and improve the quality of screen time. By addressing the issue of digital addiction with features like the digital dopamine tracker and Monk Mode, Roots empowers users to create a healthier balance with technology. As it moves out of beta and continues to evolve, Roots AI-powered app has the potential to significantly impact the way people manage their digital lives.

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