Apps help modern youth unplug from their devices

Modern youth are taking stock of their digital habits, especially when it comes to their relationship with their smart devices. This has given rise to a digital wellness movement, with things like apps and (as reported in yesterday’s Daily) minimalist cell phones attempting to help them curb their usage. The following apps are helping youth stay off their phones to enjoy IRL experiences—and are even rewarding them for doing so.


Lilspace wants to reward users for mindfully unplugging from their devices. The app helps people gain back time from their digital habits in exchange for perks. Minutes logged doing mindful activities, like mindful eating, reading, or spending time with family, can add up to discounts at partnered businesses. When users hit “Unplug Now,” Lilspace begins to track their time spent off their device. In addition to earning rewards with Lilspace partners, users can also unplug for a cause, like in the case of LA Family Housing: the organization set a target of 100 unplugged hours that, when reached, earned meal donations for the center and its residents.


The digital detox app Flipd isn’t just supposed to help users step away from their devices: it’s also meant to help users confront just how often they’re unconsciously using their phones. Users first delineate a time they want to unplug, like for 30 minutes of reading or a two-hour lunch date, and then activate the app's timer. While the ability to stop and start the timer might seem counterintuitive to the goal of unplugging, it serves a purpose. What will surprise users is the amount of times they unconsciously launch an app only to forget to stop the timer. By highlighting this behavior, Flipd hopes to help users become more aware of their phone use and eventually change their habits.


If you’re a student in the UK and can spend 20 minutes unplugged from your smart device, the Hold app will reward you. With the knowledge that smartphones can be a major distraction, Hold wants to help young device users break their bad habits and reward them for their efforts. Students can rack up points for every 20 minutes they don’t use their devices from 7am to 11pm. These points can then be redeemed for products and services from Hold’s partners, including Vue Cinemas, Caffè Nero, Planet Organic, and Amazon. Additionally, students have the option of using their points to donate books and supplies to schools supported by UNICEF.