The rise of conversations around digital wellness and smartphone addiction in the last few years is not by accident. Various studies have shown screen time at an all time high with hours of our lives going to digital media and entertainment each day – an alarming trend that gains more attention each year.
- The average time spend on smartphones and tablets is 261 minutes a day (4hrs 33mins) – Emarketer, 2016.
- Millennials check their phone 150 times per day – Mobile Marketing Watch, 2017.
- Nearly two-thirds of people surveyed say they agree that taking an occasional digital detox is good for their mental health (APA, 2017)
- Top technology leaders like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates among other confirmed they’ve restricted or limited their children’s screen time (New York Times, 2017)
- Conversation killer! 85% of smartphone users will check their device while speaking with friends and family – Bankmycell, 2018
Beyond the data, companies like Apple (Screen Time) and Google (Digital Wellbeing) having recently launched digital wellness features for their new operating systems is the straw that broke the camel’s back. Now with these key players involved, even the originators of the addiction have acknowledged the need for a reduction on the time we waste hooked on our smartphone.
How it all started
One day like any other day, and shocked by the data provided via the Moment App, I, along with my wife, decided to start a Phone-Free Bedroom Challenge; we hung a couple of bags on the outside of our bedroom door and set the rule “no phones in the bedroom.”
The benefits were apparent right away with this simple change. We were sleeping better, felt less anxious, experienced improved moods and most importantly, we felt more connected with each other than ever before. In fact, we haven’t brought our phones back into the bedroom since January 2017! This small changed made an incredible difference for us and we wanted to share it with the world, so we created Bagby. Bagby is a mindful digital-free solution to help others, especially couples like us, create their own phone-free bedroom.
After conducting a survey to learn more about how people used their phones in the bedroom, we realized that most people face the same two challenges or barriers that prevent them from putting their phones away while sleeping:
- 99% said “I use my phone as an alarm clock”.
- 90% said “I like to charge my phone overnight”
With these 2 insights in mind, we started to develop a digital wellness tool that worked as a reminder to be mindful of our phones without adding any additional technology. We designed Bagby, a small bag for your cellphone and a reminder to create phone-free spaces at home. We then turned our own personal experience into a challenge (#PhoneFreeBedroomChallenge) that others could try and partnered with a small workshop in Argentina to help hand make Bagby bags.
To help fund the project, we launched a campaign on Kickstarter. After 25 days, “The World’s first sleeping bag for your smartphone” campaign reached the funding goal and Bagby became a reality. Over the next few months, we added new colors and designs, launched 2 more products (Bagby Living (for the living area), Bagby Social (for social gatherings and events)) and collaborated with several businesses and influencers in the space to help spread the word.
Today and after gathering feedback from supporters, friends and customers, we are evolving the messaging and the positioning, improving the offering to take Bagby to retail and joined the Digital Wellness Warriors.
We understand smartphones are a great tool and removing them entirely from our lives is fairly unrealistic for most people. For this reason, we want to focus on bringing that digital wellness and detox to the home. We believe after a connected busy day, we should go back home, give our attention to our family and loved ones, and recharge ourselves instead of our phones.
Our aim is to create a mindful reminder that meaningful connections start the moment we disconnect and are more present with people around us. We want to create that additional layer or step to keep us from checking our phones without purpose and we believe we can do that without adding more technology to the equation. We want to make digital wellness beautiful, distraction-free and above all, human.
Want to start your own phone-free challenge? Here are some key recommendations
- Track your smartphone usage. We believe the first step is a realization of the problem. Sometimes we spend more time on our phones than sleeping. Isn’t crazy?
- Read some recent articles or books. We totally recommend “How to break up with your phone” by Catherine Price.
- Define times and places to go phone-free. We believe the bedroom is a great place to start.
- Do occasional tech-free weekends or chose a tech-free day, like Sundays. Some Sundays we leave our phones at home and go out for brunch, a run or a walk outside. We have learned to enjoy a day without unnecessary distractions.
- Be strong. Remember we are talking about an addiction like cigarettes, sugar or similar. You need to set rules and follow them.
Ready to start your phone-free bedroom? Freedom Premium users can get 30% off any Bagby product with Freedom Perks.
This week’s post comes to you from Juan Sánchez of Bagby. To learn more about the Phone-Free Bedroom Challenge or Bagby – visit Bagby.co.