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Google’s app utilised to investigate how phones impact your happiness

The study’s purpose is to investigate how individuals use their phones in real life and how that impacts their happiness

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Google's app utilised to investigate how phones impact your happiness

Using Google’s Health Studies app, the University of Oregon is doing research on the impact of smartphones on mental health. The study’s purpose is to investigate how individuals use their phones in real life and how that impacts their happiness. According to a statement on the corporate blog authored by one of the project’s main researchers, the research’s goal is to assist firms build better goods and potentially affect future legislation and education.

Researchers are utilising the Google’s app, according to the blog post, to gain a clearer image of how people actually use their phones, as opposed to previous studies in which users are asked to track and report their own app usage – a strategy that can be less precise than researchers would like.

Researchers expect that by using an app-based method, they may be able to discover links that previous research have overlooked, such as how screen time impacts sleep. They also expect that by minimising the amount of labour required of participants, they would be able to attract a broader audience. This might help them obtain data from underserved and younger groups, in addition to increasing the sample size.

The researchers say they’ll employ “passive and continuous sensing technology” to obtain “direct, objective measures of how people use their phones.” Your phone will also be able to “directly measure many of the well-established building blocks of wellbeing, such as sleep and physical activity,” according to the developers. You may also select to share data from your Fitbit if you have one. The system employs “some of the same APIs as” Android’s built-in Digital Wellbeing system, which records how you use your phone, according to Google spokesman Iz Conroy, but “data is collected separately under transparent research protocols.” Conroy cited the number of times you unlock your phone and the kind of apps you use as examples of the type of information the research will gather.

Users must grant “informed consent” to participate, according to the blog post, and the data “will be managed according to strict ethical standards and will only be used for research and to inform better products.”  The data “will never be sold or used for advertising,” it states clearly.

In December 2020, the Health Studies app was launched with a research on respiratory disorders. People may use the app to sign up for studies, and it will gather and aggregate their data so researchers can spot trends in demographics but not personal information.

If you want to participate in the digital well-being research, you may get the app from the Play Store and sign up to join when it releases on Friday, May 27th. For four weeks, the research will track your phone usage and health habits.

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