The Atlantic

The Case for Locking Up Your Smartphone

Lockers and sleeves for phones can feel like an infringement on personal rights, but they also might save people from their worst habits. An Object Lesson.
Source: Yuya Shino / Reuters

If abstinence from alcohol originated in Protestant England, maybe abstinence from digital devices will come from Catholic France. The country has recently rolled out a new labor law called the “right to disconnect,” and following a campaign promise made by President Emmanuel Macron, the French Ministry of Education plans to ban the use of smartphones in all of its public schools.* Philippe Vincent, a member of the French head teachers’ union, has estimated that it would take about 3 million lockers to keep cellphones out of the hands of wired écoliers.

Lockers seem to be the smartphone prophylactic of choice for French ministers who must attend meetings sans portable, but for school students, the ensuing nomophobia—the fear of being without your smartphone—might be enough to provoke a revolution.

The policy shows how humans are struggling to adapt to the most captivating prosthesis they have

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic8 min read
The Power Of Fear In The Thawing Arctic
Living north of the Arctic Circle meant learning fear and its power to motivate in the face of danger—whether from a bear or climate change.
The Atlantic10 min readPolitics
The 2020 Congressional-Retirement Tracker
For the second consecutive election, more Republicans than Democrats are forgoing reelection, a potentially ominous sign for the GOP in 2020.
The Atlantic5 min readPolitics
Why Isn’t Trump Helping the Autoworkers?
The president has been happy to stand up for manufacturing employees on the campaign trail, but has done conspicuously little as GM workers go on strike.