To me, WhatsApp has overthrown email addiction in 2018. Forget about being glued to your inbox; you’re glued to chat groups, and probably more than 10 of them at a time. When I switched phones last year, I remember practically howling in despair – I hadn’t ‘backed up’ my previous chats and lost every single one. I felt an almost indescribable sense of loss. It was at that point, I realised how much of my own sense of self was tied to an app. And yet, these virtual chats are my main form of communication these days, I can’t switch them off. I try archiving chats, to no avail.
They are just words on a screen I know, but they are used far more diversly these days – and in all situations. Some of them good (ah, the beloved family chat group), a lot of them bad. Is there anything as painful as seeing a friend (who is actually no longer your friend) ‘available’ but refusing to speak to you? Or say you finally cut the chord and decide not to entertain the person you know will never be right for you (even via memes) any longer and ‘leave’ said group? It’s practically as traumatising as a face-to-face break up, and much more severe than a simple unfriending on Facebook
To help quell your addition, Whatsapp is reportedly launching a new functionality in the coming weeks that will help you unwind more easily on holiday – or just help you get a decent break from the app when you need it. ‘Vacation mode’ will enable users to completely mute all group chats so that no notifications will appear on your phone, either in your lock screen or in the app itself (very important).
Currently, users can mute Whatsapp chats, but notifications still appear when the app is opened. This is what remains problematic. I defy any woman with even the deepest of inner strength to ignore those red icons; it’s one of life’s great impossibilities. The new Vacation Mode will ensure that all messages are automatically archived, meaning that messages won’t appear anywhere on your phone while the mode is active.
To enable the functionality, users need to mute the group chat, archive it and then once this is done the Vacation Mode option can be activated to prevent further messages appearing. It’s still unclear when the service will launch, but The Independent reports that it could come into play within the next few weeks.
There’s no guarantee it will quell that addiction, but it may offer a helping hand, encouraging us to enjoy some real-life interaction – whether we’re on holidays or not.