Engineering 101

Dump Your Smartphones for Greater Well-Being?

Okay, we know this, right? We’re addicted to our smartphones, even knowing they cause muscle and back pain and turn us into the proverbial Jekyll and Hyde.

Privat-Dozentin Dr. Julia Brailovskaia and her team are researching whether our lives are actually better without smartphones. More realistically, how much less smartphone use per day is good for us.

The Mental Health Research and Treatment Center psychologist at Ruhr-Universität Bochum (RUB) had approximately 200 test participants. Some went without their smartphones for a week; others reduced their daily use by one hour, while the third group used their smartphones the same way as before. The results? Long term, those who reduced their use fared best. The report is in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied from the 7th of April 2022.

All in all, they recruited 619 people for their study and divided them randomly into three groups. Two hundred people put their smartphones entirely aside for a week. Two hundred twenty-six reduced the time they used the device by one hour a day. One hundred ninety-three people didn’t change anything in their behavior.

The one-week intervention changed the participants’ usage habits in the long term: even four months after the end of the experiment, the members of the abstinence group used their smartphones an average of 38 minutes less per day than before. The group who had spent one hour less per day with the smartphone during the experiment used it as much as 45 minutes less per day after four months than before. At the same time, life satisfaction and time spent being physically active increased. Symptoms of depression and anxiety, as well as nicotine consumption, decreased.

Hmmm, maybe there’s something here…

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