Smartphone overuse is related to a variety of issues such as lack of sleep and anxiety. We explore the application of Self-Affirmation Theory on smartphone overuse intervention in a just-in-time manner. We present TypeOut, a just-in-time intervention technique that integrates two components: an in-situ typing-based unlock process to improve user engagement, and self-affirmation-based typing content to enhance effectiveness. We hypothesize that the integration of typing and self-affirmation content can better reduce smartphone overuse. We conducted a 10-week within-subject field experiment (N=54) and compared TypeOut against two baselines: one only showing the self-affirmation content (a common notification-based intervention), and one only requiring typing non-semantic content (a state-of-the-art method). TypeOut reduces app usage by over 50%, and both app opening frequency and usage duration by over 25%, all significantly outperforming baselines. TypeOut can potentially be used in other domains where an intervention may benefit from integrating self-affirmation exercises with an engaging just-in-time mechanism.
Typeout: Leveraging just-in-time self-aﬀirmation for smartphone overuse reduction. Xuhai Xu, Tianyuan Zou, Xiao Han, Yanzhang Li, Ruolin Wang, Tianyi Yuan, Yuntao Wang, Yuanchun Shi, Jennifer Mankoff,and Anind K. Dey. 2022. In Proceedings of the 2022 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI ’22). ACM, New York, NY, USA.