An interesting article by Alice Hopton on CBC news discusses when people might be required to do without their smartphones.
The article describes Yondr, a small pouch in which smartphones may be locked during concerts, classes, and other social gatherings. Yondr's inventor, Graham Dugoni, argues that some people's habit of recording concerts, rather than just experiencing them unfiltered, undermines the point of such events, which is:
to be swept up into a shared mood in a physical space in real time with everyone there
With Yondr, people can be forced to leave their smartphones in locked pouches during concerts, thus removing this threat to the integrity of such events.
The article notes that this view of the integrity of live events is shared by many performers, such as Adele. I would add that the same critique has been advanced at sporting events. Manchester United recently banned iPad selfies in the stands because of the disruption caused to other fans by the large rectangles being held aloft. Also, players have complained about seeing so many fans with their backs turned during games.
So, is it acceptable to temporarily impound people's smartphones during live events? Some fans argue that taking photos and whatnot is just part of how they enjoy the experience. Others press the point that smartphone use (by others) detracts from their experience.
Hopton argues that reliance on smartphones in general threatens the authenticity of people's lives, a fact illustrated by the use of smartphones at concerts:
We've become so dependent on having our phones at all times that some believe constant access to their device is 'a basic human right.'
Actually, if people truly become dependent on smartphones (and they are increasingly necessary for modern living), then that would make a case for considering access to them a right, if not a "basic" one. So, requiring people to do without them in concerts, etc., would suggest that some other right overrides this consideration, perhaps the right of others to have an "authentic" experience.
The question may be posed this way: What is the social contract regarding access to smartphones in today's society? When can be people who want to use their smartphones be denied access to them? Do concerts or other social events satisfy that criterion?