Hinge’s anti-screen time guide resembles an iPhone

As the loneliness epidemic rages on, the dating app has created a free, phone-shaped resource filled with ideas to unplug from tech and make real world connections

Dating app Hinge has run with the line ‘designed to be deleted’ for several years, reflecting a business purpose built around matching people for the long term. With its latest initiative, Hinge has managed to lift its brand ethos out of a purely dating context and used it to make a statement on screen time.

In January, Hinge launched a social impact programme called One More Hour, which was set up to address the loneliness epidemic by building real-life connections between people – particularly Gen Z, with various studies finding that around three-quarters of this age group feel lonely.

As part of the programme, Hinge has launched a book filled with ideas on how people can disconnect from their screens, created with the help of 19 collaborators including web artist Yehwan Song, Mold Magazine, creative collective Aerthship, chef DeVonn Francis, and foodie drag queen and hostess Steak Diane.

All images courtesy Hinge

The book is roughly the same shape and size as a smartphone, and even comes with a minimal box design that resembles iPhone packaging ready for that unboxing moment. It has been launched to coincide with the Global Day of Unplugging at the beginning of March, ahead of which Hinge will (perhaps counterintuitively) send in-app messages to users encouraging them to switch off from tech that day.

“We live so much of our lives online that unplugging can feel drastic or scary, but Global Day of Unplugging isn’t about shaming anyone for their screen time. It’s about showing people that tapping into the magic of IRL is way easier than it seems,” says Josh Penny, Hinge’s social impact director. “Our physical Phonebook supports young adults who may be wondering ‘OK, I unplugged. Now what?'”

Ideas include switching selfies for ‘sketch-ies’, experimenting with dyeing clothes, guides to meditating with friends, birdwatching exercises, and literature excerpts. People in the US can request physical copies, and an online version can be downloaded anywhere.

With tech brands facing pressure to accept their role in encouraging screen time (Hinge’s parent company Match among them), Hinge’s Phonebook indicates how they might take small steps to address this without completely derailing the brand.