Smartphone owners will be able to determine how much time they spend on the device using an app developed by computer scientists and psychologists from the University of Bonn.
The free Android app, called Menthal, is designed to enable people to monitor and measure their smartphone use. "This app can show us in detail what someone's average cellphone consumption per day looks like," says Bonn professor Alexander Markowetz.
The researchers want to determine what constitutes normal mobile phone use and where too much starts. The app also could potentially be used to measure the progression and severity of depression. Smartphones can record when someone makes fewer phone calls and goes outside less frequently, thanks to their built-in global positioning system.
The Bonn team tested Menthal on 50 students over six weeks and found that 25 percent used their phones for more than two hours a day. They also learned that participants activated their phones more than 80 times during the day. Typical users spoke for eight minutes each day, wrote 2.8 text messages, and spent half the time using messenger apps or social networking sites.
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