Collecting Phones [Starter Activity]


This is an introductory activity to raise participants' feelings about their mobile devices and other people accessing the devices and contents.

Learning objectives this activity responds to

  • an understanding of how mobile access and communications are gendered and intimate;
  • an understanding of mobile communication safety from the perspective that mobile phones are our tools for both personal, private and public, movement communications.

Who is this activity for?

This activity works particularly well in the context because their workshop participants experience this often. We recommend this exercise if your participants are experiencing device seizure and want to discuss the impacts on them and their emotional responses.

Care note: We recommend doing this with great care. Get participants' clear and emphatic consent. This will likely work best in a context where you and your participants have already built deep trust with one another.

A note about learning pathways: This is a great starter activity to prepare for discussions and tactical activities around preparing for high-risk situations in which phones may be taken or lost.

Time required

This activity will require about 30 minutes.


Activity: Collect participants' mobile and Discuss – 15 min

Collect participants mobiles in the very beginning, getting their clear and emphatic consent, but without explaining why you are collecting them.



  • How do you feel about not having your phone in your hands?
  • What are your immediate feelings?

Activity: Return mobiles and Debrief - 5-10 min

Return the mobile which was collected from the participant in the very beginning.



  • How did you feel to leave your mobile? Why?
  • How do you feel getting your phone back? Why?
  • Are there times when your mobile is taken from you? Who is taking it and what is the situation?
  • How do you feel in that situation? Why?
  • Why is your phone important to you? What does your phone give you access to? Encourage participants to be specific about how they relate to their phones, what the phone connects them to, the importance of their phone.
Go back to this activity's main module (Mobile Safety)