Do you dare ditch your phone for a day?

16 Mar, 2021
Dr Lena Waizenegger
Dr Lena Waizenegger is researching what happens when people use their technology purposefully.

Does the thought of turning off your phone fill you with fear?

Do you break out in a sweat thinking about severing ties with social media?

Can’t imagine a night without never-ending newsfeeds?

If you answered “Yes” to any of these questions, you might be just the candidate to participate in new AUT research into digital wellbeing.

Dr Lena Waizenegger (AUT Business School) and her UK-based collaborators gained international acclaim for their 2019 research into what happens when people travel without technology. The findings showed people experienced a range of emotional highs and lows – akin to cigarette withdrawal – when they embarked on a so-called digital detox.

Now, Dr Waizenegger wants to examine the effects of mindful phone usage. She’s encouraging volunteers to take the forthcoming Phone Free Day Global Challenge (Friday 19 March) and explore what happens when people take control of their technology and use it in a purposeful way.

Dr Waizenegger says there is an increasing awareness of the dark side of phone usage – and particularly of social media – in our hyperconnected world. The Phone Free Day Global Challenge creates an ideal opportunity to build a strong evidence base about the impact of turning off and tuning in.

“More and more people know about the importance of digital wellbeing and the need to balance connection and disconnection,” says Dr Waizenegger. “We see avid technology users turning to digital detoxes, self-help guides and expert advice to help them use their smart phones mindfully. Yet, the effectiveness of those digital well-being interventions is not well-understood.”

Dr Waizenegger leads a research team comprising Taino Bendz (Phone Free Day), Dr Brad McKenna (University of East Anglia, UK), and Dr Wenjie Cai (University of Greenwich, UK).

Keen to participate in Phone Free Day Global Challenge?

You must be at least 20 years old to join the study. Find out more and register your interest:

The study is approved by the Auckland University of Technology Ethics Committee (AUTEC).

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