Big first: during the summer of 2017, French executives were able to benefit from the “right to disconnection“ incorporated in the Work Laws which had vigorously begun in January of last year. However, according to an Ifop survey conducted in July 2017, 78% of those affected were not successful in disconnecting themselves from technology and regularly consulted professional mail and SMS during their free time. It would then seem that disconnection from routine is more difficult than anticipated in the Numerical Era. Here are five initiatives which could make it easier.
Strangely, one of the acclaimed ways in which we can disconnect from our smartphones is to actually install apps which digitally detoxify them. Among these apps, Thrive, promotes the blocking of all apps, notifications, calls and messages; while Friday decrees that you cannot be disturbed every Friday evening; there is also Forest, which allows you to watch a virtual tree grow. If the user touches his phone during the growth the “living” being, the growth immediately stops and the tree dies. How Tragic.
Calls and texts. Nothing else
The smartphone and its apps can quickly become an inconvenience when we seek to disconnect ourselves from technology. Seen from far, with its touchscreen and stripped down design, the Light Phone 2 has all the looks of a luxury item. Yet, it is quite the opposite and while it is 4G compatible it only offers call and text functionality. However, benefitting from its placebo effect will set you back almost 400 dollars. Even more radical is the Substitute Phone, created by the Austrian designer Klemens Schillinger, it replicates the feeling of a smartphone but is just a phone case encrusted with rotating beads which allow the user to scroll and swipe without result.
Even with or without Digital Detox, getting rid of a smartphone like the iPhone X (priced at 1000 euros) could be painful. The same goes for leaving it out of reach during holidays, under the pretext that the smartphone cannot be used. Since the summer of 2017, Certideal proposes to act as “kennels” for our smartphones to ensure that these dependence creating objects are well looked after. This start-up collects the smartphones from people who are on holidays and exchanges it for a detox kit, which notably contains a first generation mobile without internet access. Giving each user enough to stay connected without being addicted.
Exile to the white zone…
If the softer approach does not work, you may need to switch gears. It’s the holidays, may as well leave! This is just as well: France has many “white zones”, villages deprived of all phone networks and who are mapped out by the ARCEP. Allowing you to revitalize yourself in charming small communities such as Saint-Pé-d’Ardet in Haute-Garonne or Cuverville-sur-Yères in Normandy.
… or the outer zone
For those who are not enthused by exile within the “Hexagon”, the Black Tomato start-up proposes to send you on an unknown expedition to the middle of nowhere. All you have to do is indicate a budget, pick between jungle, mountain, desert or ice and you are on the road. It is not recommended to bring your phone, on the chance that it might be lost. In any case, finding network in such places is without hope.