Google Health Studies now has the digital wellbeing study available

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Technological developments throughout history have had both benefits and risks. We urgently need high-quality research to identify which use patterns are associated with benefits versus risks, and who is likely to experience harmful versus beneficial outcomes. Original 5/23: In collecting this data, the researchers are turning to technology and the multitude of sensors on our modern devices instead of just “heavily subjective” self-reported questionnaires. Using the Google Health Studies app, which was launched in 2020 to allow for privacy-conscious surveys, the University of Oregon will “recruit a large representative sample and collect direct, objective measures of how people use their phones, with their informed consent.”

The University of Oregon’s Center for Digital Mental Health is launching a new digital wellbeing research that collects data via the Google Health Studies app on your Android and Fitbit utilising “passive and continuous sensing technologies.” 5/26 update: With the launch of the Digital Wellbeing Study, version 2.0 of Google Health Studies is now publicly available. Fill out a survey: Answer a few questions about yourself and your health on a one-time basis. 15 to 25 minutes is the estimated time. Provide a daily update: For weeks 1 and 4, report how you’re feeling four times each day; for weeks 2 and 3, report once per day. 1–5 minutes every day, on average. Maintain the app’s installation: For the course of the research, allow your device to process and submit aggregated findings. Wear your Fitbit device at all times: If you have a Fitbit and want to share your data,

Highlights

  • The study will also use participants’ phones to directly measure many of the well-established building blocks of wellbeing, such as sleep and physical activity. This study is open to adults based in the US that have an Android phone and “can complete daily activities without assistance.” It takes four weeks. Fitbit users can optionally add relevant step count and physical activity data, with the company possibly analyzing this data to “improve certain Fitbit features.” After joining, it takes a month to complete and takes up about 15 minutes of your time every week. The data collected will be managed according to strict ethical standards and will only be used for research and to inform better products. The data will never be sold or used for advertising. The digital wellbeing study will appear in the Google Health Studies app on Friday, May 27.

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