Graham Dugoni was at a music festival when he saw something that bothered him. Strangers filmed a guy dancing at the concert and uploaded the video to YouTube because they thought it was funny.

It made Dugoni think about two things; how much privacy can people expect in public? And are people missing out on communal events because they’re staring at their phones?

His solution…? Take phones out of the mix and let the experience happen without them. He wanted to find a way to combat people’s smartphone addiction.

Dugoni founded Yondr, a company whose small, gray pouches swallow phones and lock them away from the eyes of their addicted owners.

Now people entering certain public spaces; like schools, courthouses, or concerts, can be asked to slip their phone in a Yondr pouch  so they can’t film, text, or be distracted by them.

The pouches can be rented for a single event or on extended leases. So far they are being used in more than 600 U.S. schools!


Smartphone Lockdown Shows Positive Results

At San Lorenzo High School in California, which requires students to Yondr their phones from the beginning of first period, the difference has been measurable.

Grades have gone up and discipline problems have dropped, said principal Allison Silvestri. Referrals for defiance and disrespect are down 82 percent. Before Yondr, most arguments between students and teachers were over using phones in class. No more.

There was another positive effect, Silvestri said. “Students are interacting, talking to each other, reading, kicking a ball, socializing — because they’re not standing in a circle texting each other.”

Could making schools into phone-free zones be the next big thing? Locking away smartphones does improve focus and behavior, so maybe.

Some performers, like Dave Chappelle, are already making it a rule for audience members to lock phones away during their show.

In the end, Dugoni wants people to ask themselves: Do I have a smartphone addiction? What is the point of all those instantaneous texts, shares and likes?  Do they really have a place in a classroom setting?

It will be interesting to see if more schools adopt this type of technology to keep student smartphone use at bay.


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