Can’t put down your phone? This service is here to help.

Do you ever come home from work or school, sit on your couch, pick up your phone, open up your multiple social media accounts, and then look up at the clock and bam! two hours have gone by somehow? No? Yeah, totally, me neither. But for those who have a social media addiction bordering on the unhealthy, there’s now a solution for you to really help break your scrolling habit: a Japanese service called CoinLocker.

The idea behind CoinLocker is based on the lockers that you can find standing in any of the major train stations in Japan. The use of those is simple: find an empty one, put your stuff in, drop a 100 yen coin in, and turn the key to lock it. Then you can come back and get it later, whenever you’re ready. Sometimes they’re operated by a central touchscreen, but either way, the idea is the same: pay money, get storage, and have your stuff safely tucked away from anyone who doesn’t have the key.

▼ They look like this.

The CoinLocker social media service has a similar concept, but instead of putting physical stuff in, it’s like putting your phone–or more specifically, your social media account–in a coin locker, and instead of locking other people out, you’re using it to lock yourself out. In essence, CoinLocker locks away your social media accounts for whatever amount of time you desire so that you can maximize your productivity.

The way it works is simple. Once you’ve signed up, you type in your user name and password for whichever social media site you need a break from, and the service logs in for you and changes your password. The service won’t tell you the new password until the date and time that you’ve set, so you won’t be able to log in to your account until that period is over.

Now, with all of the recent controversy about tech companies’ improper use of users’ private information, you might be worried about giving another company access to your social media accounts, and rightfully so. However, the makers of Coin Locker assure us that no individuals will be handling the changing of passwords; all activity will be done through a program, which will only act when you tell it to.

Furthermore, all login information will be stored not in an online server but locally in your computer or smart phone’s hard drive, so if the app’s servers happened to be compromised, no data would be leaked, and your private information, at least in this instance, would be safe.

▼ The service is based on the story of the creator’s friend, who couldn’t concentrate on studying until they put their phone in a coin locker.

There is one risk associated with the service, however, but that has more to do with the social media companies than the actual service. Many social media services have explicitly stated in their terms of use that the use of automated computer systems to access accounts is forbidden. For example, it’s against the rules to use a bot to log into an account. For the most part, this is to prevent the existence of bot accounts that post nothing but spam all day and overload the servers.

▼ CoonLocker developer Digital Detox calls itself an “anti-technology” company and develops services that make technology inconvenient to use, with the aim of creating a new balance in the world and fostering spiritual growth.

CoinLocker doesn’t post anything or interact with other social media users, and the service’s users themselves operate it indirectly by authorizing it, and so Digital Detox doesn’t think it will pose any safety or security issue. However, although they don’t explicitly say it, there is the off-chance that it could result in a frozen account or some other kind of trouble with the administrators of whichever service you’re using, so you’ll have to accept that risk if you decide to use the program.

But if you aren’t concerned about that, then CoinLocker could be a great way to help you curb your addiction! It sure beats putting your phone into a lockable box, which makes the entire device impossible to access, even in the case of an emergency. For those interested, the service has two plans: a trial plan, and a standard plan. The trial plan is free, but will only let you lock one account at a time, thus limiting how truly productive you can be if you’re a serious addict. The trial plan also makes it so that the minimum lock time is 24 hours, which is a little inconvenient if you want to stay off social media for a shorter time, such as the eight-hour workday.

The standard plan, which is 500 yen (US$4.63) per month, allows for an unlimited number of accounts and decreases the minimum lock time to just one hour, making it a bit more convenient if you don’t want to quit cold turkey.

▼ If this is you, you might consider signing up ASAP!

The service is used through your web browser via this site, and is not an app, so anyone in any country can access it without downloading anything so long as they can access the site. It even has English-language accessibility, although much of it appears to be Google translated and can be a bit jumbled. It’s comprehensible, however, and pretty easy to follow, so you shouldn’t have any trouble signing up.

So if the constant tension of political arguments waged via social media has you worn out, or if following your favorite Internet personalities is keeping you from getting any real work done during the day, try using CoinLocker to give you a break from the online world, boost your productivity, and save yourself from the potential dangers of walking around with your cell phone in hand.

Source: Coin Locker via Nijimen
Top image: Coin Locker
Insert Images: Pakutaso, Coin Locker

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