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The Hidden Benefits Behind Limiting Your Screen Time

Camdyn Rael 20"

Camdyn Rael, Club Writer

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Over the past decade, technology has come to occupy a special place in our daily life. Not only do our smartphones provide hours worth of entertainment, but they also help keep us connected to the world beyond our immediate surroundings. Despite these benefits, spending too much time on your device has been proven to have negative impacts, especially clear in the lives of highschool and college students.  In the United States alone, it is estimated that texting and driving accounts for 1.6 million car accidents each year. Because students are usually new drivers, they are at an increased likelihood to be involved in a crash if they are on their phones while driving. In addition to the dangers of texting and driving, using our phones during the school day can prove to be extremely distracting and even lead to a detention.

Five years ago, two California State University, Chico (CSU)  students developed an innovative new app, called Pocket Points, that rewards its users for the time they spend away from their smartphones.  Mitch Gardner and Rob Richardson hoped to make the roads a safer place to travel and motivate people to focus on living each day in the moment rather than on their devices.  This app essentially allows users to collect points when they put their phone on lock down mode, during the school day for example, which can later be redeemed for coupons and discounts at local stores or restaurants.  When a user creates their account, they establish their location within the app by selecting the school they attend. This allows the app the to narrow down which incentives it should offer the person in exchange for the points they collect over the week.

When discussing the functionality of Pocket Points with Xavier students who had recently downloaded the app from the App Store, the responses were generally positive.  Junior Mia Olsen described her experience with this app as somewhat life changing in the midst of a stressful junior year. “I was able to get a lot more sleep each night, which helped me to stay ahead on my school work, and the coupons that you could redeem your points for where for places I actually really enjoy such as Chick-fil-a and Pura Vida,” she explained.  Intrigued by the exciting savings that the app offered, Jessica Mirmelli, another junior, downloaded Pocket Points as well.  After deleting the app a short time later she stated, “The app required access to a lot of information such as your location and motion at all times of the day which I just wasn’t comfortable enabling.” In this case, the general concept was preferred over the implementation of the app itself.

Programs such as the one offered by Pocket Points could have a really positive impact within the Xavier community since it rewards students for being more productive and safe throughout the day. The extra time that is afforded can be better spent on creating memories with loved ones or getting ahead on school assignments. By eliminating the distractions associated with constant cell phone usage, Xavier students can also work to create a world of more cautious drivers, a world where a Brophy boy can stroll through a Starbucks parking lot with full confidence that he will make it out unharmed.

 

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