Are smartphones completely harmful to your mental health and personal well-being? While earlier studies showed they do have a negative effect, Google is looking once again into smartphone research to understand just how they affect us.
While it is a known fact that your mental health might be at risk due to the overuse of smartphones, further research is trying to understand the increase of depression, the increase of smartphone users, and their correlation to one another.
- The Unity of Oregon’s Digital Mental Health Center is initiating a project with the help of Google to study the effects of smartphones.
- Studies show a growing rate of depression along with the increase of smartphone and social media users.
- Google is looking for participants to share Fitbit data with them to help further the research.
The growing effects of being connected to the web via smartphones can result in sleep deprivation and schedule mixups which can lead to work and personal problems.
Growing Depression and Social Media User Rates
The average smartphone user checks their time 47 times a day and with a 5 billion world population, 2.7 billion of them have personal smartphones. Out of the smartphone users, 69% of adults and 97% of teenagers have a social media account.
In 2005 to 2007 the rate of depression increased to 52% among adolescents and a 63% among adults. Google plans to address this issue through the development of Digital Wellbeing but they still need your help.
In partnership with Google, the University of Oregon’s Digital Mental Health Center is initiating the project to ask everyday people to participate to understand the growing factors affecting the mental health of smartphone users.
The challenge lies in the perception of some users thinking a certain portion of smartphone use is bad while others think it is beneficial.
How Google Fits Into the Picture
Research done in the past was not able to come up with positive results due to a number of factors including omitted essential information, self-reported surveys, or lack of data from large sample sets. Google’s involvement could help supplement these deficiencies.
Google’s involvement in smartphone research could yield better results through the help of well-being tools like Fitbit. Once information is acquired, they will be able to track other factors like workout routines and daily activities to complete their research.
The good thing about this research is that Google abstains from an intrusive approach and in order to participate, users will still have to sign in. Due to the sign in process, user data will not be collected without user knowledge and permission.
Google also guarantees that any data shared with them for research purposes won’t be used for advertising. The collection will only start once the user signs in and stop when a user signs out.
To participate in the research, you can sign up on May 27 to help further understand the effects of smartphones on mental health and personal well-being.