We know that smartphone addiction is real, and that it can affect lives in negative ways. While some people have tried going cold turkey or even punishing themselves for using their handsets, an app is being released in the UK that rewards people for staying away from their devices.
Hold was created by Norwegians Maths Mathisen, Florian Winder, and Vinoth Vinaya while studying at Copenhagen’s Business school to help break fellow students’ attachments to their devices.
The trio found that positive reinforcement was the best way of conquering smartphone addiction. Hold allows students to collect points for staying off their devices between the hours of 7 am and 11 pm; they get 10 points for every 20 minutes.
Through partnerships with Universities and businesses, points can be used for discounts on everything from cinema tickets to Amazon goods to cafe food and drink. A half price cinema ticket, for example, costs 60 points, or 2 hours away from a phone. And a £5 ($6.88) Amazon voucher needs 1000 points, or 33 hours off your handset.
Students can also use their points to buy school books and stationery, which are then donated to schools partnered with children’s charity Unicef.
Over 120,000 people use in the app in Scandinavia, including 40 percent of higher education students in Norway, where Hold first launched in February 2016. It’s now being released as a free Android and iOS download in the UK and is available to students from over 170 universities.
A 2017 University of Texas study claimed that merely placing a smartphone in someone’s line of sight slowed down their productivity, response time, and reduced their grades. An earlier study from the London School of Economics found students who didn’t use handsets on school grounds saw their test scores increase 6.4 percent.
Hold isn’t yet available in the US, but initial talks are reportedly underway.