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Don’t touch that phone or you’ll have to pay the bill!

Don’t touch that phone or you’ll have to pay the bill!

Don’t touch that phone or you’ll have to pay the bill!

There’s this phenomenon called ‘phone stacking’ going round the web. And no it’s not a new app, in fact, it’s more an anti-app. The rules are when a group of friends meet at a bar or a restaurant they all have to put their phones in the centre of the table. Whoever gives in to temptation first and reaches for their phone has to pay the bill.

The concept is ingenious but also slightly worrying that we have such low resilience to checking our phones. In fact recent studies show that the average person checks their phones 110 times a day, which averages at around once every 6-7 minutes. So it comes as no surprise that there have been new apps such as Phone Addict and Phone Addict Free, which encourage users to stop checking their iPhone.

Unfortunately, this resilience is deadly necessary. I was at a gig where numerous fan members spent the whole performance doing various things on their phone that they barely seemed to have enough time to enjoy the show. The smartphone has made users focus on being anywhere but where they actually are – and so paying for the bill has now seemed the only way to get people to actually focus on the present moment.

However, there has been a new wave of apps which instead of making life seem too quick to focus on the present are giving users more time to enjoy their time spent with friends. Apps such as Citymapper, Preoday, and Divvyup are helping minimise the dead time around the face-to-face meetings: the commute, the queuing for drinks, the paying of the bill.

Of course, as John Lennon once said ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans,’ and it may be this dead time that offers us the most serendipitous moments. But let’s face it, 99% of this time would be spent wasting time on the smartphone anyway.

So instead these new apps designed to minimise lost time shouldn’t inspire users to waste more time on their phones but instead appreciate that this gained time is a precious opportunity to spend in the moment with the people that matter.

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