Smartphones have become so integral to our day-to-day lives that, quite honestly, I couldn’t imagine going a day without mine. But not only can they be REALLY distracting, they can also have seriously negative consequences; according to a 2017 study by the University of Texas, just having a smartphone within eyeshot can reduce productivity, slow down response speed and reduce grades in students.
To try to tackle this problem, three friends who met at Copenhagen Business School have developed a free app called Hold that rewards you for not using your phone with genuinely useful prizes like Amazon vouchers and cinema tickets.
The app launched in Norway in February 2016, receiving 50,000 downloads in its first three months. And it’s now used by 40% of higher education students in the country, attracting more than 120,000 users across Norway, Sweden and Denmark.
Here’s how it works:
Once you active the app, you can accumulate ten points for every 20 minutes you don’t use your mobile phone, between the hours of 7am-11pm, seven days a week.
Points continue to accumulate until you interact with your device, which Hold’s technology can detect. These points can then be exchanged for goods and services within the app’s marketplace, at any time.
So far, these points can be used at Costa Coffee, Amazon, Planet Organic, Ugly Drinks, Jabees, Onepiece, and FlowMotion. Students using Hold will also be able to exchange their points for school books and stationery, which are then donated to schools partnered with the children’s charity UNICEF.
At the minute it’s only available to students, as you need a university email address to sign up - just like in the early days of Facebook - but if successful, there’s certainly chance it’ll be rolled out to the rest of us.
According to the BBC, to earn two free coffees, students will need 300 points, which equates to 10 hours on the Hold app. For free popcorn at the cinema, they will need to spend two hours to accrue 60 points.
Sounds like a pretty good deal.
(Image: Derick Anies / Unsplash / Hold)