May 25, 2022

Google wants your help to study the impact of smartphones on users’ digital wellbeing

By Jay Bonggolto published about 9 hours ago

Researchers at the University of Oregon have partnered with Google for this new mental health research.

Digital Wellbeing widget on a Pixel 6

Digital Wellbeing widget on a Pixel 6 (Image credit: Namerah Saud Fatmi / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • The University of Oregon will study the impact smartphones have on mental health in collaboration with Google.
  • Researchers will use Google’s Health Studies app to conduct research on the digital wellbeing of smartphone users.
  • The study will begin on May 27 and is open to any adult in the United States who owns an Android phone.

While digital wellbeing features are now required on all Google-certified Android phones(opens in new tab), manufacturers have a long way to go in terms of designing better products with mental health in mind. That is why researchers at the University of Oregon are collaborating with Google to study the impact of smartphones on digital wellbeing.

Dr. Nicholas Allen, a psychology professor and director of the University of Oregon’s Center for Digital Mental Health, announced the new research project in a blog post(opens in new tab). Allen, the study’s lead researcher, explained that the team will use Google’s Health Studies app to see how people use their phones and how screen time affects their overall wellbeing.

The study is open to adults in the United States who own any of the best Android phones(opens in new tab). It will begin on May 27 and last up to four weeks. Participants’ devices must have the Google Health Studies app installed. By using the app, researchers hope to gain a better understanding of how people actually use their smartphones.Sponsored LinksThe Cost of IVF Treatment Might Surprise YouFertility Cost

“We’ll recruit a large representative sample and collect direct, objective measures of how people use their phones, with their informed consent,” Allen said. “We’ll use passive and continuous sensing technology to do this, rather than relying only on self reports.”RECOMMENDED VIDEOS FOR YOU…CLOSE seconds of 59 secondsVolume 0% PLAY SOUND

Researchers will also use the participants’ phones to measure various components of wellbeing, such as sleep and physical activity.

To protect user privacy, the app will allow users to control the sensitive data they submit through the app. Participants will also be able to choose to add relevant Fitbit data, such as step count and physical activity. Allen said these pieces of “data will never be sold or used for advertising.”

“The data collected will be managed according to strict ethical standards and will only be used for research and to inform better products,” he added.

The project’s ultimate goal is to help companies design better products that take mental health to heart.

Jay Bonggolto

Jay Bonggolto 

News Writer

Jay Bonggolto always keeps a nose for news. He is a tech journalist based in the Philippines who has been writing about consumer tech for the past six years and has been using various Android phones since falling in love with Jelly Bean. When he’s not writing, he likes to spend time outside, stealing scenes with his phone camera.MORE ABOUT…YouTube Shorts starts rolling out shoppable video ads worldwideThe new Amazfit T-Rex 2 arrives just in time for Father’s Day, brings insane battery …LATESTDualSense PS5 controllers drop to lowest ever price – for EVERY color

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