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Digital Intervention for Problematic Smartphone Use

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journal contribution
submitted on 2024-05-09, 05:06 and posted on 2024-05-09, 05:06 authored by Sarah Kent, Ciara Masterson, Raian Ali, Christine E. Parsons, Bridgette M. Bewick

Smartphones have become the primary devices for accessing the online world. The potential for smartphone use to become problematic has come into increasing focus. Students and young adults have been shown to use their smartphones at high rates and may be at risk for problematic use. There is limited research evaluating interventions for problematic smartphone use. The present research aimed to develop and evaluate a digital intervention for problematic smartphone use in a student population. A mixed-method case series design was used. The participants were 10 students with mild–moderate dependency on the online world (measured via a self-report questionnaire). An intervention comprising goal setting, personalised feedback, mindfulness, and behavioural suggestions was delivered via a smartphone application. Time spent on smartphones was measured objectively through the same application. Changes in problematic technology use, wellbeing, mindfulness, and sleep were also evaluated. The findings indicate that the intervention resulted in a reduction in self-reported problematic smartphone use, but not screen time. The findings also indicate that over the course of participation, there was a positive influence on wellbeing, online dependency, mindfulness, and sleep. However, the mechanisms of change could not be determined. The study provides preliminary evidence that a light-touch, smartphone-delivered package is an acceptable and effective intervention for students wishing to better manage their problematic smartphone use.

Other Information

Published in: International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
See article on publisher's website:



  • English



Publication Year

  • 2021

License statement

This Item is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University
  • College of Science and Engineering - HBKU

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