Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Time to Dial Back Smartphone Use?

Academic journal article The Science Teacher

Time to Dial Back Smartphone Use?

Article excerpt

A new, free app will allow smart-phone users to measure their usage levels. Computer scientists and psychologists from the University of Bonn have developed an application for this purpose. Users can see, for example, how much time they spend on the phone or which apps they use most often. The relevant key data is sent to a server anonymously for the scientists to analyze. They are already using a similar technology for the early detection of depression.

"If you would like to go on a digital diet, we will provide you with the scales," jokes Alexander Markowetz, junior professor for computer science at the University of Bonn.

The app, dubbed Menthal, is part of a larger research project into cell phone use. Most studies have relied on user self-assessments, which are unreliable. "Menthal will provide reliable data for the first time," Markowetz says. "This app can show us in detail what someone's average cell phone consumption per day looks like."

In an as yet unpublished study, the researchers used Menthal to examine the phone behavior of 50 students over six weeks. …

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