There was a day, quite recently in the cosmic sense of time, when we could leave our homes without phones. We went on dates, made appointments, got directions, read books–all without pocket-sized, 3G, GPS-enabled technology. That day is long gone. So essential have they become, that many of us would sooner leave the house without pants than go without our phones. If you’re trying to reduce this dependence, UNICEF might have a way to help. Their TAP Project is asking people to put down their phones for 10 minutes; in exchange for this Herculean feat, sponsor Giorgio Armani will donate enough money to provide clean water for one child for a day. The idea behind the project is to remove something we live with and take for granted to better understand how people around the world do without clean drinking water.
To take this challenge, navigate to the Tap Project’s site (uniceftapproject.org) on your phone. The site uses your phone’s accelerometer to see if you’re actually leaving it alone. You must actually put the phone down–no reading or moving it whatsoever–or there will be no donation. We would add that you might take this challenge when you wouldn’t be normally leaving your phone alone–e.g. sleeping, yard work, etc.
While our phones pack many marvels, they also pack some not-so-desirable side-effects; some have argued that our phone-addiction is eroding our ability to pay attention to anything for sustained periods, and they might be decreasing ability to be present with our immediate environment. If you feel yourself experiencing these, or other, conditions, the Tap Project can help you regain your focus while making a positive impact for someone in need.