Researchers investigate Australia's relationship with smartphones

August 15, 2017, Murdoch University

Murdoch researchers are playing a leading role in Australia's Biggest Smartphone Survey—the online project for National Science Week.

Dr Lynette Vernon and PhD student Bep Uink will join a collection of Australia's smart phone experts to ask how smartphones have changed our lives.

Has it made your life easier? Or harder? How much time do you spend on it? Does it help you connect (or disconnect) with people? And could you live without it?

Australia's Biggest Smartphone Survey is asking you to share how you use your smartphone and what impact this ubiquitous device is having on your life.

"Our research found that late night phone use directly contributes to habits," says Dr Lynette Vernon, a psychology researcher at Murdoch University.

"This poor sleep makes it harder to function during the daytime and, over time, leads to declines in overall wellbeing and mental health."

Psychology researcher Dr Kathryn Modecki from Griffith University, hopes the survey will illustrate how carrying around powerful computers in our pockets is influencing our lives, health, habits and relationships.

"Does having access to the world of knowledge and unlimited social opportunities in the palm of our hands make life better?" she asks.

"Get involved with Australia's Biggest Smartphone Survey and help us find out."

"I'm a know-it-all, so I love whipping out my to do some quick fact checking," says ABC Science writer and broadcaster Bernie Hobbs.

"But there are downsides, like the feeling that thanks to my phone I'm always on call."

Australia's Biggest Smartphone Survey is open for two weeks, from 11 – 25 August, and people are encouraged to take part by heading to the Smartphone Survey website at

All the information collected in the will be depersonalised and aggregated to build an overall picture of the relationship Australians have with their smartphones.

Australia's Biggest Smartphone Survey is the online national project for National Science Week 2017, undertaken by ABC Science with funding through the Australian Government's Inspiring Australia strategy.

Explore further: Night phone use a danger for adolescent mental health

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