Hey Google: Are cell phones bad for us?

By Scoop
May 25, 2022 · less than 3 min read

The University of Oregon is conducting a study surrounding cell phones’ impact on mental health via Google’s Health Studies app.  

Google goodness 

Phones? Bad for your mental health? Who’d have thunk it! Many of us are probably aware that too much screen time isn’t particularly healthy. And with the general pressures of social media and doomscrolling at an all-time high, you don’t need to be a genius to realize the impact that cell phones have on our wellbeing.  

Now though, researchers at the University of Oregon are putting theory into practice. The study, which will use Google’s Health Studies app, will offer an insight into how people use their phones with “passive and continuous sensing technology”. Of course, studies about phone usage have been undertaken before, but previously it’s often people who are asked to track themselves, which offers plenty of scope for error. Who wants to report back that they were sadboi’ing to Billie Eilish at 2am on a Tuesday? 

The bigger picture 

While it will be interesting to see how people spend their scrolling hours, the ultimate goal of the study is more than just behavioral. Instead, they want to help companies to design better products, and even shape policy and education surrounding cell phone usage in the future. Pretty neat stuff.  

The researchers say that your phone will be able to “directly measure many of the well-established building blocks of wellbeing, such as sleep and physical activity.” So, the promise of real discovery awaits – and the results might just have us keeping our phones in our pockets for a little longer.    

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