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Put it away! These brands are calling for customers to put an end to their smartphone addictions


The arrival of 2018 brought with it an onslaught of news items proclaiming our smartphones are making us stupid.

Whistle-blowers from the bellies of the beasts (Apple, Google, Facebook, and Twitter, that is) have come forward in droves warning of the dangers of spending too much time on our devices. 

The detrimental effects of smartphone use, or abuse (let’s be real), have not gone unnoticed.

It’s affecting the way mothers bond with their newborns, it’s vaporising our concentration and actually lowering our IQs.

Do you feel more stupid? You probably are.

According to a 2015 study conducted by Microsoft, smartphone use could be responsible for lowering our attention spans from twelve seconds to eight seconds since 2000. That’s one second less than a goldfish.

Even infamous selfie-taker Kim Kardashian has pledged to use her phone less this year. Perhaps that’s why we’re paying attention now.

But smartphone abuse isn’t a new plague, and brands have already been tapping into our clouded desire to disconnect, unplug and turn off.

Here’s a look at who’s calling for customers to break free from their smartphone addiction to enjoy life, and maybe their products, too. 

Coca-Cola’s 2014 spoof is certainly something to bark about: 

Comedian Will Ferrell stars in a series of videos promoting #devicefreedinners:

On the good, old-fashioned ‘put it away’ front are Mastercard Poland

And Chick-Fil-A, an American fast food chain that marketed its takeaway boxes as cell-phone storage for family meals

These product designers will have had a whale of a time creating products whose very functionality depend on people not using their phones.

Like this beer glass

Or IKEA Taiwan’s anti-smartphone table:

Highlighting the harsh reality that smartphone addictions are even affecting what goes on in the bedroom, Durex and TMW Unlimited created Do Not Disturb. It even won a couple of DMA Awards:

Skincare brand Murad hones in our vanity: 

Even Nokia is calling for us to call it quits by tugging at heartstrings: 

Feeling inspired? Try following The Guardian’s seven-day digital cleanse:

Day 1 Leave your phone outside your bedroom overnight; get an alarm clock or turn up the volume on your phone so you can hear its alarm easily from your bed through the door. Continue this all week.

Day 2 Put your phone in a central place when you return home and go to the location of the phone (rather than carrying it around with you) if you need to check it.

Day 3 Take work email off your phone (notify everyone in advance that you’re doing this).

Day 4 Go out to dinner, lunch or to an evening event/gym session and leave your phone behind.

Day 5 Keep your phone on airplane mode as default all day; take it off this mode only when you need to use it.

Days 6 and 7 Your complete digital detox: keep your phone switched off and put away from 7pm Friday to 8am Monday.


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