The American singer, musician, songwriter and the lead singer of The White Stripes, Jack White, recently raised a few eyebrows when he announced that he would not be allowing mobile phones into his shows anymore. White is certainly the epitome of old-school. His record company, Third Man Records, has a mobile record store (it literally looks like an old school bus) in which two turntables play vinyl records from their catalogue.

The announcement doesn’t come as any surprise to fans, who are well aware of White’s disdain for phones at his performances. In a statement released to the press, White explained that he would be employing the services of specialists to make this proposal more feasible.

“Upon arrival at the venue, all phones and other photo or video-capturing gizmos will be secured in a Yondr pouch that will be unlocked at the end of the show. You keep your pouch-secured phone on you during the show and, if needed, can unlock your phone at any time in a designated Yondr Phone Zone located in the lobby or concourse.”

What is Yondr?

Yondr was founded by Graham Dugoni in 2014, after two years of research into everything from philosophy of technology, phenomenology, sociology, to the material used in the pouches that Yondr uses.

According to their website, Yondr “creates phone-free spaces for artists, educators, organizations and individuals” in order to “provide a haven to engage with what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with”.

The company has created a patented case where the users place their phones when they arrive at an event or in an area where Yondr is used. The case locks, and can only be unlocked by tapping it on an unlocking base. Users are allowed to keep their phones with them in the Yondr pouch, but can only unlock it in designated areas, or after the event is over.

Since the company’s launch, Yondr’s services have been used by courts, schools and performers across the USA. Reasons for using Yondr’s service vary, and range from stopping the audience at music concerts from making recordings of performances, to preventing people attending court proceedings from recording them.

There has been criticism about the service, with some claiming it would prevent people from recording matters of social or political importance, or stop them from calling emergency services when necessary.

At present, Yonder is not available in South Africa, but if it was, would you use it, or do you prefer to always have access to your phone?

The Yondr pouch that prevents access to mobile phones at events.
Photo credit: Maria Lokke

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