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Take a Pause and lock up phone, Israeli startup says

Sleek box blocks signals in bid to encourage phone-free routines, improve quality of life

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

The Pause box, designed to entice you to put your phone away for a little while (Courtesy)
The Pause box, designed to entice you to put your phone away for a little while (Courtesy)

Do your children keep their faces buried in their smartphones and grunt answers at you when you address them? Do you feel withdrawal symptoms when you forget — God forbid — your phone at home? Do you find yourself checking messages during dinner or while out at the ballet or a rock concert?

If you want that to change, consider a new gadget created by two Israeli entrepreneurs that aims to entice you to disconnect and spend time with your family, even if it is just for a little bit.

Indeed, Pause, a new product designed to encourage phone-free routines to improve the quality of time spent at home and in the workplace, started sales on Tuesday via an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign.

The sleek rectangular metallic box locks out smartphone distractions, the company says. It serves “as a designated spot to check-in up to six phones during meetings at the office or quality family time at home,” and it blocks Wi-Fi signals and incoming calls, text messages and emails.

Just by being present, whether on your coffee table or in the conference room, Pause provides a constant reminder to “just put your phones away” when focus is needed elsewhere, the statement said.

“With today’s hectic lifestyle, people are constantly on the go – and constantly on their cellphones,” said Ori Levin, co-founder and CEO of Pause. “The distraction has seeped into all aspects of our lives and there is a real need to reconnect and focus on the present.”

In fact, 62 percent of kids feel like their parents are distracted or focused on other things when they’re trying to talk to them., according to The State of the Kid 2014 in the US, with a main culprit being cellphones.

Moreover, 47 percent of workers say that their biggest problem in meetings is that other participants aren’t paying attention, according to a 2015 Workplace Communication and Culture Report from Highfive.

“Smartphones have done wonders to enhance our lives both personally and professionally, but we could all benefit from taking a pause once in a while to spend time with those who matter most,” said Yuval Lazi, another Pause co-founder. “Unfortunately, this is becoming harder and harder to do and so we created Pause as a tool to help people disconnect. Using Pause is about intent, commitment and simplicity for the whole family.”

Lazi came up with the idea for Pause with his wife, Lidar Gravé-Lazi, when their three-year-old son surprised them at dinner and asked them to put down their phones to engage with him. “A light bulb went off” as they decided not only to set better boundaries for themselves with mobile devices but to provide a solution for other families looking to shift focus back to what’s really important, he said.

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