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Surprising Findings – Does Reducing Screen Time Increase Productivity?

Teen Smartphone Glow Bed

The study found that using existing smartphone apps to track cellphone screen time can improve purposeful or mindful cellphone use, leading to greater perceived productivity and customer satisfaction. ‘user.

New research suggests that mindful use of smartphones can improve productivity.

Have you ever been accused (or accused someone else) of spending too much time staring at your phone? It seems that the time is not entirely wasted after all.

A recent study by Kaveh Abhari of San Diego State University and Isaac Vaghefi of the City University of New York found that monitoring cell phone screen time using mobile phone apps existing smartphones can improve focused or conscious use of the cell phone, which increases perceived and user productivity. Satisfaction. The study has just been published in the journal AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction (THCI).

The positive effect of self-monitoring

While much research has focused on the negative effects of cell phone screen time (tolerance, withdrawal, and conflict with work-related tasks), Abhari and Vaghefi’s study sought to see if the behaviors of self-regulation could lead to a change in user behavior. Abhari is an Associate Professor of Management Information Systems at SDSU’s Fowler College of Business. Vaghefi is an Assistant Professor of Information Systems at the Zicklin School of Business at Baruch College.

“We hypothesized that people who tracked their cellphone usage and set goals around that usage tended to improve their productivity and satisfaction as they reached their stated goals,” Abhari said. “Previous research has shown that goal setting tends to raise performance expectations and we wanted to see if this theory held true for smartphone screen time as well.”

put it to the test

To make this decision, the researchers surveyed 469 participating undergraduate college students in California, New York and Hawaii. The three-week survey asked all participants to complete four questionnaires and about half of them had to download a screen monitoring app to their phone. This app allowed users to monitor and set limits or goals with their cell phone screen time.

When the results were analyzed, the researchers measured the perceived screen time productivity reported by respondents, as well as the amount of screen time and fatigue associated with self-monitoring. They also reviewed participants’ satisfaction with their productivity gained from mobile phone screen time. “Self-monitoring appears necessary to encourage optimized use of smartphones,” Abhari said. “The results suggest that optimizing but not reducing screen time is more likely to increase user productivity.”

The effect of tiredness

However, the researchers also found that self-monitoring induces fatigue and weakens the effect on productivity, although this is not a significant factor affecting the relationship between self-monitoring and job satisfaction. regard to productivity.

In conclusion, Abhari and Vaghefi determined that while uncontrolled cell phone use (or cell phone addiction) can have a negative impact on people’s lives, monitored screen time – specifically screen time monitored screen with specific goals in mind – can lead to positive results and greater overall user satisfaction. “This study could lead system developers to integrate features into mobile devices that enable self-monitoring,” Abhari said. “These features could improve the quality of screen time and strengthen the relationship between humans and digital technology.”

Reference: “Screen time and productivity: an extension of goal-setting theory to explain optimal smartphone use” by Kaveh Abhari and Isaac Vaghefi, September 30, 2022, AIS transactions on human-computer interaction.
DOI: 10.17705/1thci.00169

The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship and/or publication of this article.

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