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

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A child with the Yondr case

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. 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 does not 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 point to ban mobile per se It is not the best optionbut that would not open the doors to using the smartphone indiscriminately either.

For example, in schools there are many teachers asking that devices not be used in the classroom or in the hallways or playground. 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 ‚Äč‚Äčteachers 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, which allow the use of mobile phones before and after arrival at the center, but not in the center itself. Its founder, Graham Dugoni, realized that the mobile 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, he would not be able to use the smartphone.

Yondr Case

The second device is a circular piece with several screen-printed 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 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 legislationsimilar to the conversation that is currently taking place in Spain.”

Yondr Case and Unlocker

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 to date, and all signs point to 2024 being even better.”

Besides, The teachers themselves appreciate the help when controlling access to smartphones. In fact, according to the company, the “Teachers are our greatest defenders. 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 “great interest in The Yondr Home Tray, launched 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 place. 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.”

Yondr for home

Another more unexpected but equally interesting use has been for concerts. More and more comedians, artists or singers They 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 like courts, college tests, workplaces, weddings, churches, awards 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, althoughSmartphones are already essential tools In day to day, Its indiscriminate use is also a problemand solutions like the one proposed by Yondr will only increase.

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Abraham
Expert tech and gaming writer, blending computer science expertise