App discourages excessive phone use through growth of virtual forest


Courtesy of Seekrtech Co., LTD

The longer users stay off their phones, the bigger their forest grows. Seekrtech Co. also has an app that helps users build better sleep patterns.

Picture this: it’s a late night at the Munday Library and you have an assignment  due first thing in the morning done… You say to yourself, “just one more minute on my phone and then I’ll start.” Suddenly, one minute turns to 30 minutes which then turns to 2 hours and no progress has been made.

We’ve all been there — so distracted by our phones that we hardly get anything done. While some of us have the willpower to put down the phone and grind, others might need a little help to break the nasty habit of procrastination. The need for a distraction-free studying might be closer than most of us think, thanks to an app called “Forest”.

“Forest” is an app that helps to break this habit, but with a twist. You set an allotted time to be off your phone, and if you’re able to resist using it, you then get a virtual tree or bush planted and earn coins.

Depending on how much time you want to allocate for yourself, you earn a certain amount of coins that you can use to buy other types of trees, shrubs or even sounds such as a rainforest, cafe in Paris or sandy beach. It’s sort of like a game, you win by staying off your phone, which then enables you to upgrade to better trees, shrubs and sounds.

The app’s layout is simplistic and easy to use when you first start out. You’re met with the timer and either a bush or tree, depending on how much time you want, that will be planted once the timer is done.

In the forest section, it shows all the trees and bushes that you’ve planted. It has options to see your progress in a daily, weekly, monthly and yearly overview. It also shows you the total amount of time spent off the phone each month as well.

Another section of the app is the achievements, which ranges from staying off your phone for four hours to keeping a 30-day streak of not touching your phone during the time you set, which is another way to get coins. You can connect with friends and see their process as well.

Not only are you able to plant virtual trees, but you have the opportunity to plant an actual tree. “Forest” partners with Trees for the Future, an organization that helps “end hunger and poverty for smallholder farmers through revitalizing degraded lands,” according to their mission. With their current partnership with “Forest”, they have been able to plant 400,000 trees.

The price of the app is $2.99 on iOS and Google Play store, and while it seems like a steep price for most, it can be beneficial in the long run. If you’re someone who needs a little incentive to hit the ground running on your assignments, Forest maybe something to consider.