A ‘chastity belt’ for the smartphone: the invention so that children do not use their cell phones when they should not

a 'chastity belt' for the smartphone the invention so that children do not use their cell phones when they should not
a 'chastity belt' for the smartphone the invention so that children do not use their cell phones when they should not

The debate about the appropriateness of using cell phones in schools has unexpected protagonists, such as a smartphone case.

In recent months in Spain the debate about whether children should use cell phones or not has intensified. There are many who think that children under 10 should not have a cell phone and increasingly those who want their children not to have them until they are 16, although social pressure doesn’t help.

Prohibition is not usually the option most valued by specialists, who prefer a more conscious education rather than trying to open doors to the field. This would suggest that banning mobile phones per se is not the best option , but that would not open the doors to smartphone use indiscriminately either.


For example, in schools there are many teachers who ask that devices not be used in the classroom or in the hallways or the playground< a i=2>. That does not mean that you cannot bring your phone to the center, in case it is necessary to use it in an emergency. The question is how to manage this idea of ​​teachers being the custodians of the phones.

A very particular case

This is where the company Yondr comes in, founded in 2014 in San Francisco. This company has focused on offering solutions for schools, in the first instance, that allow the use of mobile phones before and after arrival at school, but not in the center itself< a i=4>. Its founder, Graham Dugoni, realized that the cell phone was present in all moments of life, without exception, and in the case of minors that could be a problem.

The device consists of two parts. On the one hand there is the case of the mobile phone itself, a large piece of fabric that adapts to all models on the market. That case has a magnetic closure that requires a different device to open it. That way, even if the minor had the case, they would not be able to use the smartphone.


The second device is a circular piece with several silk-screened images, which allow each case to be locked in a way through the use of magnets. The most important thing is that the minor should not get rid of the phone, and the teacher does not have to be responsible for the custody of dozens of cell phones every day. He only controls access to the unlocking piece, which is the one the children have to use before going home.

An expansion to 16 countries

This idea, which was born in the United States, has quickly been exported to other countries. According to what the company has told us, Yondr “is used by more than one million students in 16 countries and in more than 3,000 schools around the world with headquarters in Los Angeles and offices in New York, London and Sydney.” But in recent times the company has seen “increased demand in European countries and in Australia, where countries have been considering implementing phone ban legislation, similar to the conversation that is currently taking place in Spain.”

In fact, there are already schools in Spain that are using this company’s method to control the use of smartphones in classrooms. And the trend is upward, according to the company. “Based on our confirmed and expected orders, we estimate a 150% increase in the number of schools using Yondr in 2023. Last year was the most successful year yet, and all signs point to 2024 being even better.” ;

In addition, the teachers themselves appreciate the help when controlling access to smartphones. In fact, the company says, “teachers are our biggest advocates. Most of our business is based on word-of-mouth referrals, where one school recommends Yondr to another.”

Beyond the classrooms

Despite having been designed for schools, this device is also beginning to be used in homes and other centers. The company acknowledges that there has been “strong interest in The Yondr Home Tray, released this fall and allowing you to replicate Yondr’s phone-free experience in a personal environment.”

Home Tray is a lockable box that blocks signal and allows you to store phones and other smart devices in a home, office or other location. The company says it “was designed to help parents and children be more present, make workplaces more productive, and make people more aware of their phone use.”

Another more unexpected but equally interesting use has been for concerts. More and more comedians, artists or singers ask their attendees not to record or take photos of the event. To do this, some are using Yondr, making attendees focus on the experience, and not on uploading photos to social networks.

In fact, Yondr has collaborated with companies and entities to create mobile-free spaces in places such as courts, university tests, workplaces, weddings, churches, award ceremonies, poker tournaments, video game launch events, company retreats…

It seems evident that this trend will grow, and not only in schools. Society is slowly realizing that, although smartphones are already essential tools in everyday life, its indiscriminate use is also a problem, and solutions like the one proposed by Yondr will only increase.


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