Insurer MORE TH>N tests a non-functioning, plastic ‘prosthetic phone’ as possible relief to increasing numbers of mobile-addicted Brits, as part of its 'Give your mobile the boot' road safety campaign
- Six per cent of Brits see their phone as ‘an extra limb’, with 29% unable to go more than an hour without checking it;
- MORE TH>N will test a ‘prosthetic phone’ prototype, to help alleviate anxiety for people who want to go ‘cold turkey’ from their mobile; and
- Volunteers to take part in the one-week trial of the ‘prosthetic phone’ can register via MORE TH>N's Facebook page.
Increasing numbers of us experience anxiety at the mere thought of going an extended amount of time without our mobile phones. Fortunately, a new prototype is being trialled this week, aiming to ease smartphone addiction and encourage people to become less reliant on their device.
The plastic mobile phone 'surrogate’ is designed to replicate the exact weight and dimensions of a standard iPhone, but without any of the technical capabilities.
The concept has been developed by MORE TH>N as part of its Give Your Mobile The Boot campaign, which aims to encourage motorists to put their mobiles in the boot of the car before they begin their journey, so they are not tempted to use them while driving.
It may not sound particularly scientific, but the prototype has in fact been informed by university research into smartphone addiction, which reveal the strong psychological and physiological effects that people can suffer from when separated from their phone.
Research by MORE TH>N shows that people are so attached to their smartphone, they would go as far as describing it as being ’like an extra limb’—a sentiment shared by 6% of the UK population.
With this in mind, MORE TH>N’s ‘prosthetic phone’ will aim to provide users who are eager to ease their reliance on their real device, with a completely tech-free alternative to alleviate feelings of anxiety.
Smartphone addiction is clearly contributing to the British public’s continued use of mobile phones when driving, in spite of the range of potential negative repercussions of doing so.Kenny Leitch Global connected insurance director at MORE TH>N
A cause for concern
MORE TH>N’s research revealed 29% admitted to be unable to go longer than an hour without checking their device before they begin to feel anxious.
Just under a third (31%) of those surveyed also confessed that checking their phone is the first thing they do when they wake up, even before kissing or saying ‘good morning’ to a partner.
And over a third (35%) admitted experiencing ‘phantom vibration syndrome’ where they imagine getting a notification, text or call but haven’t actually received one.
Of MORE TH>N's prosthetic phone, Amanda Hills1, a psychologist who worked with MORE TH>N to create a five-step plan for drivers to help relieve Phone Separation Anxiety (PSA), said:
“The physical dependency and sense of attachment that many people have with their smartphone means our relationship with it is now far more complex than using it simply as a method of communication. With this in mind, it will certainly be interesting to see how effective the ‘prosthetic phone’ trial is in providing people with a physical implement to potentially help condition themselves to become less reliant on their real mobile device.”
Kenny Leitch, global connected insurance director at MORE TH>N, said:
“Smartphone addiction is clearly an issue that is attributing to the British public’s continued use of mobile phones when driving, in spite of the range of potential negative repercussions of doing so. That’s why we’ve created this ‘prosthetic phone’ prototype, which sets out to help people alleviate the anxiety that can often be experienced when we’re without our real device.
"While we have initially created a limited run of prototypes for self-confessed PSA sufferers to trial and feedback on, if they prove to be a hit, we are certainly eager to make them widely available so more people can feel confident that they don’t need their phone behind the wheel.”
Notes to editors
1. Amanda Hills (Psych. MBPsS) is a freelance writer, psychologist and communications consultant.