After sharing a desire to develop something to help with the issue of device distraction, three students have come up with the app, Hold.
Hold rewards students for the time they spend away from their phone and has so far proven popular in Scandinavia, with 120,000 users found in Norway, Denmark, and Sweden.
The developers met when they were at Copenhagen Business School and came up with the idea when they realized there was a serious issue with device addiction. With experts growing increasingly worried about this addiction, the app is initially being rolled out to 170 universities around the UK.
According to a 2017 study by the University of Texas, simply having a smartphone within eyeshot can reduce productivity, slow down response speed and reduce grades. A study by the London School of Economics also suggested that pupils who did not use their smartphones on school grounds saw a 6.4% increase in test scores.
The app is free to download, and students will accumulate 10 points for every 20 minutes that they do not use their mobile phone. This will be during the hours of 7 am and 11 pm every day of the week, and the points can then be exchanged for goods and services. Points can be used in certain coffee shops, theaters, and Amazon, to name just a few.
For two free coffees, students will have to obtain 200 points, which would equate to 10 hours on the Hold app. Should they wish for free popcorn at the theater, then they will have to acquire 60 points and two hours of not using their device.
Dr Louise Theodosiou, a consultant psychiatrist at the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, said: “It is positive to see apps which acknowledge that students will be using their phones and provide real solutions to help balance the use of technology. We know that wellbeing can be enhanced by exercise and engaging with friends and family.
Rewards which could be linked to travel or social activities could be an incentive to students managing their money. We know that young people today are reporting higher rates of mental health needs. Social media is a tool which can be both positive and negative and supporting young people to learn to structure how and when they use it can be a valuable tool.”