Innovationbubble’s research with Fetch was picked up by The Times last weekend. The experiment involved a week long digital detox where we applied a multi-disciplinary method of exploring the effects of the detox. In the experiment, a short psychometric test was applied face to face by a trained psychologist to all participants before the ‘digital detox’ week and after the 7 days. In addition, the participants were asked to keep daily ethnographic video and/or written diaries as well as filling in a daily mood measurement questionnaire. Once the detox was finished, we also conducted follow up interviews.
As The Times states, one of the main findings was to do with the anxiety experienced as a result of not having access to smartphones. However, the effects were more in relation to those everyday apps we have become reliant upon to make our busy lives less stressful. Banking apps, supermarket apps and commuting apps can be tremendously helpful in our everyday lives, and they are often used on the go as it also saves time. The fact that the participants were unable to use these apps during the experiment actually caused them anxiety and stress, rather than having a positive detox effect. The opposite was true of social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram, most participants realised the use of social media apps were not really serving a purpose but passing time, the constant scrolling was more a habit rather than an added value in their life. At times the lack of notifications from apps such as whatsapp made the participants more anxious as they knew once notifications were turned on, there would be loads to answer/read.
Another interesting finding was that those who used apps to help with exercise and healthy eating actually ended up being less healthy during the experiment. They cited the fact that as they no longer had to record what they ate, it’s like it didn’t even happen. This goes hand in hand with previous research into the effects of accountability and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Those individuals who feel like their choices will be scrutinised are more likely to choose “better”.
Despite the experiments short duration and, the positive effects were still significant. This indicates the benefits of decreasing the time used on apps, but also more importantly, the types of apps used as well.
If you want to read the article you can find it here
Author: Jessica Welch