Have you ever considered that you can be rewarded for not using your phone while on campus? With the Pocket Points app, you can do just that.
As a free download on the Apple App Store or Google Play Store, Pocket Points lets you collect rewards for amounts of time you spend with your phone locked while connected to campus Wi-Fi.
The rewards range from discounts at fast-food chains to coupons for local restaurants. The only way to earn the rewards is to accumulate time you are not using your phone while on campus.
The app was originally created to keep students off their phones during class, but students needed an added incentive.
App co-creator Rob Richardson started the program based on observations of his classmate’s habits during his time in
“I noticed many of my classmates’ heads were down in class, and they were fiddling with their phones,” Richardson said in an interview with USA Today. “I knew there had to be some sort of incentive to get kids to put their phones away.”
He and colleague Mitch Gardner created Pocket Points at Chico State University in Chico, California, in an experiment to see if students would feel incentivized to put their focus on school, not their phones.
After a few thousand downloads, the app’s popularity rose quickly, and universities around the country began utilizing its abilities.
There were potential threats to the program that Gardner ensured were under strict observance. For example, students began to wonder if they had to be in class paying attention or if they could just watch videos while receiving the same reward. While intentions are not part of the app’s design, benefits are.
“If they’re trying to cheat the app by going on campus and watching Netflix on their computer, that’s not what it’s meant for, but there’s no way to stop that,” Gardner said in an interview with USA Today. “Our goal is to help them study or focus. If they do that, we’ve succeeded.”
While students can be rewarded by using Pocket Points, businesses can also take advantage of the app’s features. By applying to the Pocket Points system, companies can have discounts for their products promoted to college students.
Businesses such as Noodles & Company and Papa John’s have used Pocket Points to drive a college-aged demographic into their doors near university campuses. Those promoting with Pocket Points can even craft their own discounts based on what they think college students would be willing to put their phones away for.
“This is definitely something that I could get behind,” said student Dakota Stevens. “In all honesty, I am on my phone for a good amount of some of my classes. An app like this would make me want to put my phone away since I could be getting something in return.”
Pocket Points is free to download and is available through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.