We’ve become so attached to our phones that they seem like they are literally glued to our hands. The American Addiction Centers has recorded that 44% of Americans say they would not be able to go a day without their mobile phones. 71% of people continue to sleep with or beside their smartphones, despite warnings about the dangers this poses to our health due to the radiation that is emitted by the devices. This addiction has even taken its toll on personal relationships: While only 10% of people think of their significant others upon waking up, 35% of them think about their smartphones. So much for human interaction!
While smartphones have apps that for the most part, boost productivity and cater to users’ efficiency on already popular platforms like Gmail, smartphones can actually hinder our productivity. Buzzes, beeps, notifications, and likes––they urge us to check our phones even when we don’t need to. It may seem like an easy fix on our own, but this has become such a rampant problem that cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has even been developed to treat smartphone addiction. The list of CBT courses on Udemy shows how the technique is used to treat a slew of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, phobias, panic attacks, and eating disorders. This shows that smartphone addiction has become a widespread problem needing attention from every industry involved. Big names like Google have received a lot of flak for their role in contributing to tech addiction, and have recognized this need for users to take a step back by introducing a new “phone,” which is not quite a phone.
Enter the Paper Phone
- Main features
The Paper Phone is supposed to mimic planners and agendas by encouraging users to put their devices aside, even temporarily, by reverting back to the good old pen and paper. Important information such as contacts, directions, to-do lists, and the like can be printed through an experimental Android app of the same name and stored into a little booklet designed to fit in your pocket and palm the way a phone would. Existing apps like Google Play can be replaced by cutting slots on your Paper Phone to hold your credit card like a wallet.
- Motivation behind its release
Digital detoxes” have become one of the top recommendations for combatting phone addiction. This was Google Creative Lab and design studio partner Special Projects in London’s very motivation for their Paper Phone’s release under the wave of Digital Wellbeing Experiments they have been dabbled in. It is meant to slowly wean users off their phones, while allowing them to live in the present with what is right in front of them.
- Will it work?
While innovations like the Paper Phone encourage mindfulness and the idea that it is indeed possible to live without your smartphone, there’s no telling how sustainable this will be in the long run. Digital well-being is ultimately up to the user. Just remember the user is still in control of the phone, and not the other way around!