These Reward-Based Apps Make Kicking Your Smart Phone Addiction SO Much Easier
by Lauren Sharkey
Karma Images/Stocksy

Are you guilty of waking up in the middle of the night and immediately reaching for your phone? Or how about getting behind at work because you're too busy scrolling through social media? Or not talking to people IRL because Instagram is so much more interesting? Then you're probably spending a little bit too much time with your phone. But don't worry, there are plenty of apps for smartphone addiction.

The concept of using your phone in order to stop using your phone sounds a little strange, but it apparently works. Several apps have been specifically designed to encourage people to stop mindlessly checking Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, so you can get on with, you know, living.

I just looked at my phone and was shocked to see that I had spent six hours on Twitter. In one day. But I'm probably not alone. A Deloitte survey carried out in 2017 found that 56 percent of 16 to 24-year-olds in the UK thought they were spending way too much time on their phones.

Meanwhile, 33 percent of those surveyed admitted to checking their phones in the middle of the night. Hands up if you've ever replied to someone at 3 a.m. and don't even remember it the next day. Definitely guilty.

So what can you do if you think your phone is slowly becoming permanently attached to your hand? Downloading one of the following apps would be a good start.

From companies that offer you actual freebies for severing your smartphone relationship to ones that help the planet and/or your mental health, you're guaranteed to find something that works for you.


The One That Rewards You


An app that gives you free stuff for breaking up with your phone is set to be an enticing prospect. Hold was devised by three students living in Denmark. First launched in Norway, it hit the UK in March and is currently only for students (although everyone will be able to get involved soon).

For every 20 minutes that you spend off your phone between the hours of 7 a.m. and 11 p.m., the app will reward you with points. These points can then be converted into super cheap cinema tickets, free coffee, and Amazon gift cards. Or you can decide to help someone else and donate to charity.


The One That Irritates You In Order To Help


Moment has been around for a few years (since 2014, to be precise) and was created to show people just how addicted they are to their phones. The app tracks how long you spend on your phone each day and gives you the chance to set a daily limit. Once this limit has been reached, Moment will then send you slightly irritating notifications until you stop using your phone again.


The One That's A Bit Like A Prison Guard


Flipd is even more aggressive, effectively forcing you to put your phone down. It comes with two modes. The casual lock option is more of a personal challenge, while the full lock mode is roughly the adult equivalent of grounding yourself.

If you choose the latter, your phone will only allow you access to basic functions like calls and texts. But any social media apps will disappear until the timer runs out.


The One That Helps The Planet


Fancy an environmentally-friendly option? Forest is for you. The app grows a virtual tree which continues to grow (and become a full-on forest) for as long as you stay on the app. As soon as you leave the app, your tree will die.

Sad but a great reminder of the things you could be missing out on by scrolling through social media. Oh, and the app does actually plant real trees in Africa with its total at almost 300,000 and rising.


The One That Offers You Words Of Encouragement


Seeing just how much time you spend on your phone will probably shock you. So a little encouragement wouldn't go amiss. That's exactly what Mute sets out to do.

As well as showing you exactly how many times you pick up your phone and how long you spend staring at that screen, it also sends you motivational messages when you manage to stay off for a certain amount of time. It's like a personal trainer for the mind.


The One That Transforms Your Phone


When designing your phone's home screen, developers aim to make it look as enticing as possible so that you'll spend as much time as you can on it. A new app called Siempo does the complete opposite, taking over your phone and giving you a new minimalist home screen featuring a total of zero apps.

You can then choose whether you want notifications from social media, email, and so on, to be sent immediately or at certain intervals throughout the day. And you can set each app icon to grayscale, reducing the appeal to your colour-searching eyes. Clever, huh?


The One That Sets You Goals


Space is all about mindfulness. When you first download it, you will be asked to fill in a questionnaire detailing what you want to get from the app. It will then determine a various personal goals including how many times you should unlock your phone each day and how long you should spend on specific apps.

When you meet these goals, you will be given badges because, no matter how old you are, everyone likes a badge. When you do decide to open up a particular app, Space will also activate a zen-like feature which encourages you to breathe and get yourself in the right headspace.


Now, which one do I go for?