The App that Rewards Students For Studying

Procrastination: it’s something every student is guilty of. And a lot of this is down to smartphones and social media. Rather than helping us in our daily lives, they often distract us instead. But happily, there’s now an app for that.

What is it?

Hold is mobile app that encourages students to stay off their phones. It rewards them with incentives from cinema tickets to retail vouchers and other financial rewards via a points system. And it’s getting more and more popular among students.

How Does it Work?

When at university, the app works by tracking the student’s geolocation. When activated by swiping a circle on the phone’s screen, students are rewarded 10 points for every 20 minutes of not using their device. These points can then be exchanged for vouchers and other rewards in the app’s marketplace.

However, if the user leaves the Hold app at any time while at university to check a message, scroll through social media or browse the internet, the app is closed and the point counter for that session is reset.

Is it Effective?

Results are a bit mixed. Although the app currently holds 40% of Norway’s students- 50,000 of them signing up within its first three months in 2016, much of its initial optimism is waning.



Currently rolling out in the UK, there has been some criticism on the value of its points. One of its users said, “What was 140 points for a £1 Costa voucher is now 1000 points for £2.” Another student claims that even with the app, she still found herself checking her phone constantly. But then, it did make her question her phone usage.

The Future

Having partnered with University College London School of Management at the end of 2017, it seems that the app’s short-term goal is to further secure its place in the UK before going further afield.

According to the app’s CEO, Maths Mathisen, “With Hold, our mission is to limit distractions by rewarding students and giving them an incentive to focus on their work…Young people are ready to make that change and put their phones to the side while they study.”

To conclude, although there is no concrete evidence showing that Hold can fully resolve student procrastination, it seems to be working in the right way towards solving this issue. Growing interest in the app shows that young people are at least ready to change their media habits- even if only for a cinema ticket or coffee.

Medina Kabir

Aspiring journalist at Cal State Long Beach. Journalism Intern at Long Beach Post. Writer for Sutava.