MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Brittany I. Davidson MA
Doctoral Researcher in Information Systems
University of Bath
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Response: Typically, research interested in the impact of technology, or more specifically, smartphones on people and society, use surveys to measure people’s usage. Almost always, these studies claim potential harms from using smartphones, like depression, anxiety, or poorer sleep. However, these studies simply ask people about their behaviour rather than actually measuring it.
In our study, we took 10 widely used surveys to measure screen time, which typically asks how often people use their smartphone or how problematic their usage is. We compared this to people’s objective smartphone usage from Apple Screen time (e.g., minutes spend on iPhone, number of times they picked up their phone, and the number of notifications received).
We found that there is a large discrepancy between what people self-report and what they actually do with their iPhone. This is highly problematic as the sweeping statements that claim smartphones (or technology more generally) have a negative impact on mental health are not based on solid and robust evidence at this time, which leaves much to be desired in terms of what we really know about the impacts of technology use on people.