Pocket Points App Rewards College Students For Staying Focused

Photo: Klaus Vedfelt (Getty Images)

On this very month in 2014, Mitch Gardner and Rob Richardson launched their app, Pocket Points. Like most startups, Gardner and Richardson began theirs while they were college students. Their goal? To curb cell phone use in college classrooms.

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Pocket Points already provides its service to around 400 colleges in the United States and Canada. The app specializes and focuses on college students, with on-campus students earning more points than off-campus students. Pocket Points’ reasoning for targeting only college students is personal. Gardner told Business Insider that when the duo were students at California State University in Chico, no one was “paying attention to the teachers.”

The app rewards users with points for staying off their phones, be it in class or on the road.These points can be used to receive discounts at local stores, franchises, online businesses, and events. Some of the companies that have partnered with Pocket Points to offer discounts include Domino’s, Lyft, the Utah Jazz, Target, Amazon, and Gamefly. Companies like Chick-Fil-A even offer free food if you earn enough points.

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The app is very easy to use. You simply open up the app, go to the timer, select the amount of time you’ll keep off your phone, press the timer, and lock your phone. If you keep your phone off longer than the set time, you’ll start earning bonus points. The timer and point tracking end once the user unlocks their phone. Users that set and surpass timers with large amounts of time on them earn even more points. The minimum amount of time that can be set is 10 minutes and the max is 120 minutes.

It is uncertain if this app will truly help curb rampant phone use, but at least users who attempt to decrease their screen time receive discounts and may even contribute to the fight against phone addiction.