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Signs "prohibiting" phone use in places convenient for social interactions

Image credit: https://theconversation.com/time-spent-on-smartphones-not-linked-to-mental-health-problems-new-research-149795

Povilas S
Povilas S Feb 28, 2022
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Signs discouraging the use of smartphones in places where people are most likely to start conversing with strangers.
Most people like to socialize and make new friends/acquaintances whenever there's a possibility for it. However, social anxiety is the most vital discouraging factor when it comes to starting a conversation with a stranger. If a person is not brave enough to initially start a conversation, to avoid feeling unease being silent around strangers people usually turn to their phones to look like they are "busy". This discourages others from trying to talk to them. The result is often everyone "talking" to their phones instead. Such signs would make people think twice before turning to their phones and therefore bring the following benefits:
  • Make people try to overcome their social anxiety instead of escaping it.
  • Encourage social interactions between unfamiliar people.
  • Contribute to lessening tech addiction.
How it works:
All lit takes is to design witty signs and hang them in places where spontaneous social interactions are most likely to happen, e.g. places where people smoke, public transport stops and inside the public transport itself, near some public benches, in bars, etc. The locals/frequent visitors of certain places would know best which places are the attractors of social interactions and where is best to hang the signs.
One might go different ways about designing such signs, but I imagine a "no smartphone" sign with a text written under, reading something like "turn to a fellow human to talk to, instead of your phone:)" or " you get enough internet browsing at home, public places are best for social interactions;)". If you have ideas for the design of such signs/phrases under them, please write them below.
Creative contributions

"Phone idiot" spotlight

Darko Savic
Darko Savic Feb 28, 2022
Have a sticker at the door "this place uses the phone idiot spotlight to point out people that <add appropriate words>..."
Then have software/cameras and a colorful spotlight that shines on people who use a phone on the premises.
Figure out a way to prevent it from backfiring and becoming OK to be under the spotlight. Up the stakes if necessary. Call people out on it.
Social stigma.
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"Two hands" electric cigarettes

jnikola Feb 28, 2022
The idea
Electric cigarettes that can sense if you hold them with one or two hands and allow you to take a smoke only if you have both hands on the cigarette.
That way you would have both of your hands busy while smoking, which would force you to put away your phone. Without your phone, you would be more approachable for people to start conversations with you or you would start it since you are bored.
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General comments

Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic2 years ago
People usually comply with rules if consequences exist. As an example, smoking in a non-smoking area may get you a fine, or in extreme cases, arrested. The point is—people who use phones must face consequences. If that's too harsh or extreme, an alternative could be making the areas you're talking about internet-free. Those spots cannot receive any signal or the phones automatically switch off when a person enters the space.
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Povilas S
Povilas S2 years ago
Goran Radanovic No internet is a good idea, but how would you block people's internet that's based on mobile data, not wifi? You should then block the phone connection somehow, this is too complicated.
Fining people for using their phones is too harsh in this case, cause the aim is simply to encourage live communication. The case with smoking is different because you cause harm to those around you.
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Goran Radanovic
Goran Radanovic2 years ago
Povilas S Ensure that the places you mentioned receive bad mobile reception, known as blackspots. The metal body of buses and trains weakens mobile reception. You could do something similar to other places to weaken the signal.
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