Do people look at their phones less frequently if they cannot do so automatically? Two students from the University of Glasgow wondered if that was the case. They started a research project and developed the Delay app for this purpose. Whoever has the app on their phone, will see a screen that reads ‘please wait…’ when they want to unlock their phones. The duration of the time that this message remains visible before the phone can be used, varies.
The researchers think that this delay will make people more aware of their phone use. They are given the opportunity to think whether it is really a good time to use it, for example, if they are in the car or at a party. Whether people will actually change their telephone behaviour, will have to be determined by the research.
App users give permission to participate in the experiment. Delay registers how often they unlock their phones and how long they subsequently use them. The data is sent to the researchers anonymously.