The app “Pocket Points” has become increasingly popular for University of Connecticut students this semester. The app encourages users to lock their phones during class in order to collect “points” that can be put towards a future gift.
“Pocket Points” was founded in 2014 at California State University, Chico by Rob Richardson and Mitch Gardner, according to a press release from “Pocket Points” Marketing Director Olivia Gattis. Despite being a relatively new app, “Pocket Points” is now available in more than 500 universities and high schools in 120 different United States cities. The press release states that founders Richardson and Gardner noticed how distracting phones were in college classrooms and decided to create “Pocket Points” in order to incentivize students to put down their phones.
It is safe to say that “Pocket Points” easily accomplishes this goal. For every five minutes that the app is opened and the phone is locked, users get a point. When users obtain a specific amount of points, they can put those towards a variety of gifts. The gifts include free or discounted food at Storrs Center eateries like Mooyah, Toasted, Insomnia Cookies, Little Aladdin, D.P. Dough, Gansett Wraps and Bruegger’s Bagels. Users can also redeem their points online as well. The online gift selection is far more extensive than the in-person selection, as it offers discounts on men and women’s clothing, sports and entertainment tickets, décor, outdoor activities and much more.
I have had “Pocket Points” for about a week, and my initial expectations for the app were not high. But after hearing several people talk about the app and how amazing it was, I downloaded it. Long story short, this app is a really fantastic idea. I found myself getting excited to lock my phone during class, which is something I never thought I would say. The act of gaining points began to feel like a game, except instead of winning a trophy, I got free food.
“Pocket Points” is also very easy to use. The app’s homepage is very simple, making it easy to gain and track your points. Another huge plus for me about this app is that it has a very minimal effect on my phone’s battery life, if any at all.
Gaining points is almost a little too easy, as you can essentially gain points from anywhere on campus, even if you are not currently in class. This presents several issues, albeit minor ones, with the app. There is no way for the app to verifiably know that you are in class, so students hanging out in the Student Union will get the same amount of points as someone who is sitting in class. Students can also still browse the internet on their laptops, which I think defeats the purpose of the app.
“Pocket Points” also has some technical issues that will hopefully get fixed in future updates. There were times where the app would crash so badly that I would have to wait several minutes before my phone became useable again. I only encountered this issue twice over the course of a week, which is not too bad, but it is still a major issue that I have with this app.
Despite having some issues, “Pocket Points” is the perfect app for college students. As someone who constantly checks their phone during class, I thought the app served its intended purpose of decreasing my phone use and increasing my class participation.
Lauren Brown is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.