A study on the screen time usage

Last registered on September 17, 2021

Pre-Trial

Trial Information

General Information

Title
A study on the screen time usage
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0008246
Initial registration date
September 17, 2021
Last updated
September 17, 2021, 8:50 PM EDT

Locations

Region

Primary Investigator

Affiliation
Monash University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

PI Affiliation
Monash University
PI Affiliation
University of New South Wales

Additional Trial Information

Status
On going
Start date
2021-09-10
End date
2021-09-30
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
Abstract
Over usage of screen time such as cell phones can significantly reduce productivity. One important reason for the over usage of phones can be the lack of self-control. Commitment devices such as productivity or screen control apps have been developed to help people to overcome self-control problems. Yet, the number of users who adopt such a commitment device remains limited. This project aims at understanding the reasons for the low take-up rate of the commitment device. In particular, we test the hypothesis that individuals may underestimate their screen time usage and therefore lack motivation to download and use the app. We design information intervention mechanisms that aim at increasing the awareness of the problem of over usage of screen time and thereby promoting the interest in downloading and using the app to control the screen time.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Citation
Chen, Zhongwen, Erte Xiao and Jane Zhang. 2021. "A study on the screen time usage ." AEA RCT Registry. September 17. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.8246-1.0
Experimental Details

Interventions

Intervention(s)
There are three groups in this study. Participants are randomly assigned to three treatments: Feedback and APP; Feedback only and APP only. Each treatment comprises four-week surveys. Treatment mainly varies on the week 2 survey.

In week 1, we elicit participants' estimation of their daily screen time usage in the following weeks.

In week 2, in the feedback and APP treatment, we ask the participants to check their screen time usage report on their phone. Participants will report the actual daily screen time usage and also whether their estimate in week 1 is higher or lower than the actual screen time usage. We will also provide participants information on two screen time control apps (one free and one costly). The feedback-only treatment differs from the feedback & APP treatment only in that we do not provide the information of the two apps. The APP-only treatment differs from the Feedback & APP treatment only in that participants are not asked to check their actual screen time usage on the phone and thus are not informed explicitly whether their estimate is accurate.

In week 3 and 4, participants are asked to report their actual screen time usage and performance report of the app, if downloaded. Participants who do not download and use the APP will provide reasons for not being interested.





Intervention Start Date
2021-09-17
Intervention End Date
2021-09-30

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
Our primary interest is the treatment difference in the app take-up rate and the screen time usage. We will conduct several heterogeneity analyses, such as by baseline screen time usage and underestimation/overestimation of screen time usage.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
We will also examine individual differences in the app take-up rate. For example, whether the decision of taking up the app correlates with their motives to control screen time or their beliefs of whether many of their friends are using the app.
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
There are three groups in this study. Participants are randomly assigned to three treatments: Feedback and APP; Feedback only and APP only. Each treatment comprises four-week surveys. Treatment mainly varies on the week 2 survey.

In week 1, we elicit participants' estimation of their daily screen time usage in the following weeks.

In week 2, in the feedback and APP treatment, we ask the participants to check their screen time usage report on their phone. Participants will report the actual daily screen time usage and also whether their estimate in week 1 is higher or lower than the actual screen time usage. We will also provide participants information on two screen time control apps (one free and one costly). The feedback-only treatment differs from the feedback & APP treatment only in that we do not provide the information of the two apps. The APP-only treatment differs from the Feedback & APP treatment only in that participants are not asked to check their actual screen time usage on the phone and thus are not informed explicitly whether their estimate is accurate.

In week 3 and 4, participants are asked to report their actual screen time usage and performance report of the app, if downloaded. Participants who do not download and use the APP will provide reasons for not being interested.


Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Participants will be randomly assigned to be either Group A, B, or C applying the divisibility rule (whether their unique student ID is divisible by 3 ) at the beginning of a session.
Randomization Unit
individual
Was the treatment clustered?
No

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
1300 observations
Sample size: planned number of observations
1300 observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
8 colleges within the same university
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Monash University
IRB Approval Date
2021-09-08
IRB Approval Number
30193

Post-Trial

Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Intervention

Is the intervention completed?
No
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?
No

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials