A new way to fight cellphone addiction in school has made its way to UNCG. Meet Pocket Points, a free app that offers students incentives such as free food and discounted items for staying off of their phones.
Pocket Points started in 2014 after two college students who attended California State University, Chico experienced the real life problem of cell phone distraction in their lecture class. Rob Richardson and Mitch Gardner seeked a solution that would give students incentive to start paying attention.
The premise is simple: once students open the app, points start accumulating for every minute they’re not using their phones. The app uses geo-fencing and the student’s location to confirm the user is on an eligible campus. From there, students then use the points to make purchases on the gifts page, where local and online businesses have partnered with Pocket Points to offer students discounts on products. Local businesses interested can sign up to partner with Pocket Points on its website at PocketPoints.com.
“We’re excited by the participation of local businesses to support our mission of helping students find a healthier balance to their cell phone use,” said the Co-Founder and CEO of Pocket Points, Rob Richardson, in a press release.
Some of the different categories that points can be spent on are women’s and men’s clothing, sports/entertainment, watches, electronics, accessories, art and jewelry. Students will recognize many of the companies that Pocket Points have teamed up with such as Pura Vida Bracelets, Columbia Sportswear, Levi’s and Under Armour.
“Our team focuses on getting the most popular businesses that students love on the app and we’re always looking to add more. This is what helps a school do really well and makes the word of mouth spread faster because students love it,” said Olivia Gattis, Marketing Director for Pocket Points.
So far, only a few hundred students at UNCG have taken advantage of the app, but news is spreading fast between students. Though the app was only introduced to Greensboro this fall, 11 other cities across North Carolina are participating.
Pocket Points collectively and individually records how many minutes are racked up by each school and each student that uses the app. It allows the user to see how their compiled minutes compare against fellow classmates, and how different schools stack up against one another. UNCG has a total of 100,127 minutes of locked phone time, ranking 366 on the list. Brigham Young University is the top scorer with over 101 million minutes recorded.
For the UNCG students that have used the app, the feedback has been positive. “It gives me an incentive to put my phone away in class because I know I shouldn’t be on my phone anyway but it’s an extra push. It also gives me a sense of satisfaction when I earn points after each class,” said Emily Jensen, a junior at UNCG.
The Pocket Points mobile app serves over 500 universities and high schools across 120 U.S. cities and can be found in Apple’s Iphone App Store of the Google Play app store for Android devices for free.