Unicef USA, or the United Nations Children’s Fund, strives to save children’s lives in over 190 countries and territories through proper health care and immunizations, providing sanitized water, educating citizens, and offering emergency relief.
Recently, Unicef initiated the Unicef Tap Project, encouraging people to put down their phone for at least ten minutes to help children receive clean water for a day.
Here’s how it works:
An interested participant goes to uniceftapproject.org on their phone, puts their phone down on a flat surface and refrains from touching it for as long as they can. A blue screen will remain on your phone showing how long you’ve gone without picking up your cell while displaying facts about Unicef’s work, water usage throughout the world, and stats on how many Facebook “likes” or Instagram photos have been posted while you haven’t checked your phone. For every ten minutes you resist the urge to pick up your precious phone, Unicef Tap Project donors and sponsors will provide enough funding for a child to get one day’s worth of drinkable water.
What’s so great about this project is that it requires you to do absolutely nothing. You simply click begin and go about your daily business. If you wish to do more, they give you the option of making a donation after you’ve completed your length of phone-less time. Their website says just a buck provides 40 days worth of water.
And surviving without your phone is easier than you may think. The lovely blue screen notified me that the average time users lasted was 54 minutes and 34 seconds.
The concept of the project is quite eye opening– some of us may struggle to disconnect from the internet or texting for more than just a few minutes, but this “problem” seems so insignificant compared to families who would be grateful for a cup of water. I love this idea because while a user racks up minutes away from their phone and “disconnects”, they’re actually reconnecting with what’s going on right in front of them. They’ll meet up with a friend in person instead of scrolling through their friend’s selfies on Instagram or pick up a newspaper rather than stare at a screen with bloodshot eyes.
I was able to last two and a half hours, so go see how long you can do, it’ll be a refreshing experience.