Smartphones are great. They allow us to be in touch with people and the world around us wherever and whenever. But that is also not great. We check our phones incessantly throughout the day, often ignoring people and the world around us. Trust is a hugely valuable asset to businesses. I love the fact that Fairphone is responsibly making its smartphones. But I also think it should responsibly promote them and include good user guides. I should declare an interest here as I run Digital Detoxing and believe that digital technology need not be toxic but often is. You might be interested in this blog post on a recent report issued by the Strategic Society Centre in London called Screened Out.
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I love the fact that Fairphone is responsibly making its smartphones. But I also think it should responsibly promote them and include good user guides. [/quote]
I never had another smartphone, my FP1 was my first, but when I talk to people who have other phones apparently not many have the Peace of Mind-button and the regular Automatic Switch-Off at night (or they don’t know where to find them ) . I use them both regularly, and especially the PoM is great because for me it is a more conscious pause than when someone just turns the sound off or turns to flight mode.
Same for me, I didn’t have a smartphone before my FP1. I was amazed to learn it’s not that common for a (“smart”)phone to be able to wake up when the alarm goes off in the morning. So of course my phone is off at night!
These features sound good Ruth_FP1 and Danielsjohan. But I think Fairphone could go further and launch a Smartphone Useage Policy saying that they not only stand for responsible production of smartphones, but responsible use too. Trust is key to Fairphone’s success and it would be a powerful trust message. I recall BA’s “Don’t Fly” campaign during the London Olympics. People respond well to this sort of message in an era of the relentless sell.
They actually do this. Less prominently than before, but it’s still there on the lifecycle page:
But we like to say that the fairest phone available is the one you already own, so we’d like to encourage you to keep your existing mobile as long as it works.
Ok that’s really good Johannes. The ethical production, the Auto switch off and peace of mind features combined with the encouragement not to constantly upgrade are excellent. So now if they also encourage people to use their smartphone in a responsible way, there is a great package to trust in.
Will it ever be enough?
I think FairPhone already performs quite well on this topic. Much better than most other smartphone producers. It’s the right way, I believe. Of course nothing is perfect and everything could be better. But hey, give them a break.
Be aware that your goal is not the core business of FairPhone. Saying “that’s really good, but…” seems a bit unfair (no pun intended) to a company that’s, in fact, not aiming at these goals.
Yes, they care. That’s why we have the PoM-widget and other features. But they care more about conflict minerals and fair trade. So, personally, I don’t expect them to put time and money in creating user guides on how to use your phone less often. I rather see them pursuing the fairtrade gold…
There is also this new Mozilla blog entry promoting the myshadow.org data detox.
I found that I do some things already (even more in some cases, for example, I have deleted my Facebook account over a year ago), but others are really interesting, too. Also the method of the 8-day-data-detox is good. You only need max. 30 minutes per day.
Interesting, but geez, that terminology. “Detox” is pseudoscience…
Day 6 seems to be most appropriate for smartphone. A regular reflection on whether you really need all these apps seems appropriate. I think Firefox 58 is also due soon and it should support PWA. That’s going to allow some people to get rid of some “native” (ahem) “apps”.
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