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Zenscreen blocking entertainment sites. Photo: Zenscreen

The allure of the modern smartphone is too great to resist without some help. That's the idea behind ZenScreen, a new service from serial entrepreneur Nitin Bhandari, who previously founded Skyfire, a mobile browser company that was sold to Opera in 2013 for $150 million.

The details: The basic service, which lets users see what apps they are using and pause usage for a set period of time, is free. More advanced features are part of a $4.99/month paid service.

"Screen time is a modern health crisis that affects individuals and families all over the world. Apps and websites today are designed to entice rather than empower -- turning people into glassy-eyed zombies."
— Nitin Bhandari

A food pyramid for apps: One of the premises behind ZenScreen is that not all apps, like not all foods, are equally healthy. Using a GPS or background music app isn't the same, it posits, as browsing through social media.

  • "ZenScreen provides the structure and smart nudge needed for people to master technology, rather than being mastered by it," Bhandari said.

Timing is everything: ZenScreen is debuting as people are starting to pay more attention to the negative impacts of smartphone use.

Go deeper

Erica Pandey, author of @Work
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

The winners and losers of the pandemic holiday season

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The pandemic has upended Thanksgiving and the shopping season that the holiday kicks off, creating a new crop of economic winners and losers.

The big picture: Just as it has exacerbated inequality in every other facet of American life, the coronavirus pandemic is deepening inequities in the business world, with the biggest and most powerful companies rapidly outpacing the smaller players.

Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving

Expand chart
Data: The COVID Tracking Project, state health departments; Map: Andrew Witherspoon, Sara Wise/Axios

The daily rate of new coronavirus infections rose by about 10 percent in the final week before Thanksgiving, continuing a dismal trend that may get even worse in the weeks to come.

Why it matters: Travel and large holiday celebrations are most dangerous in places where the virus is spreading widely — and right now, that includes the entire U.S.

Updated 7 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

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