Will you join us?
Many of us feel that smartphones are increasingly distracting us from our work, our relationships, and life
itself. Why not challenge yourself, your organisation and your whanau on Phone Free Day?
If you can identify with any of the following, then you just might benefit from going phone free for a day.
- Do you keep your phone in the bedroom?
- Have you ever checked your email or social media in the toilet?
- Do you use your phone while you are talking or eating with other people?
- Do phones distract your focus in your workplace?
- Do you feel naked without your phone?
What, When and How
On March 6, we’re asking New Zealanders to go phone free for a day.
Some might say we’re optimists to think an initiative like this can change people’s phone habits. They may be right. We are also realists.
Depending on your personal and professional responsibilities, going phone free for the whole day might
be unrealistic. So do whatever works for you. Maybe just use your phone for work-related calls.
Switch off any notifications for the day and see if the world keeps turning.
Delete any games or social media apps for one day.
Why not organise a phone free lunch, or a phone free walk with your friends?
Put your phone in a drawer when you get home from work and have a phone free movie night.
Phone Free Day is a day for you to experience the freedom that comes without feeling the need to scroll, send a message, post a pic, come up with a comment, clash with some clans or crush some candy. Embrace being bored. Focus on being present.
Be open to any new ideas that may arise from unplugging yourself from your phone.
Most of all it’s about you and what you make of being Phone Free for a day.
Phone Free Day is for organisations too! Get to know your colleagues better by organising a phone free
meeting or morning tea for your colleagues and employees where you can share your phone frustrations and experiences. Maybe you can convince your organisation to give employees permission to be phone free outside of work hours?
By putting down your phone you may experience some, all or none of the following benefits:
● Improved communication with people around you
● Better sleep
● Less anxiety and stress
● Increased focus and productivity at work
● Help combat social media FOMO (fear of missing out).
Don’t expect any dramatic changes after just one day but think of it as a start. We’re convinced that taking
back control of your phone will improve your quality of life.
Phone Free Day is an initiative started by a group of individuals in New Zealand who are concerned about
how our use of technology is distracting us from both work, family and friends, and the world around us.
Our aim is to spread awareness and inspire you to reflect on how you use your phone.
We’re not technophobes. Many of us work in technology and appreciate how ironic it is that we are
campaigning against something that has made our lives so much easier and better in so many ways.
We’re also aware of how our phones have taken over our lives.
We rarely use our phones for what telephones were originally intended: talking and communicating with
other people. Instead we use them to escape people and ourselves by engaging in mindless scrolling. Phones
have become devices for distraction.
To paraphrase an alcohol awareness ad from a few years ago:
It’s not the phone. It’s HOW we use the phone.
The goal of Phone Free Day is to create a platform for you to explore how you can use technology instead of
letting it use you. We encourage you to not use your smartphone for the day, or at least be more aware of
when and how you are using your phone.
Who am I?
My name is Taino Bendz and I came up with the idea for a Phone Free Day because I was concerned about
my own phone use and abuse!
Like many of us, I’ve used my phone in front of my kids and felt stink about it when I realised I was
ignoring them. My partner used to ask me: "What's on the phone that is more important than dinner with your family?" I’ve scrolled through my newsfeed in the middle of business meetings. I’ve suffered from
nomophobia (fear of being without my phone).
But in late 2019 I had an epiphany.
I was at the kids’ area at Kelly Tarltons Aquarium in Auckland with my two sons when I looked up to
realise that I was the only parent engaged in playing with my children. Worse still, I was the only parent
giving them any attention at all. There were ten other parents sitting in the café, all of them lost in their own
world on their phones. It was a reflection of myself and made me think about all the times when I have done
I thought to myself: ‘Is this how we want our kids to grow up?’
Kids copy what their parents do. In today’s society, many of them learn from a very young age that
their parents prefer looking at a screen rather than at them. When they shout ‘look how high I can jump!’
and their parents don’t even hear them because they’re so engrossed in their phone, kids stop asking and
stop jumping. When they have to constantly compete for attention with their parent’s phone, of course, all they want themselves is a phone they can lavish their attention on
and get something back in return.
I’ve made some changes to my own phone habits as a result, but I feel compelled to do more.
I want to help people take back control of their smartphone usage.
I want to inspire you to look up and focus on what’s in front of you, be it a task at work, a friend in a café,
or your family.
Don’t get me wrong, smartphones are a great tool. This isn’t about not using your phone.
Just don’t let your phone use you.