Happy Hallowe’en. Now imagine life without checking your mobile phone!

Cartoon: Halloween pumpkin set against background of graveyard at night‘Tis Hallowe’en, that joyous ancient Pagan/Christian/commercial (take your pick, there seems to be little consensus on it’s origins) spooky festival when people traditionally give each other a friendly fright.  In the spirit of Hallowe’en, I would like to put forward the terrifying thought of going a whole day without checking your phone.

*listens appreciatively*

Ah, the horrified screams of the app-obsessed is music to my ears!

More seriously, phone addiction and phone distraction are serious challenges for any young person trying to concentrate on a task, and you cannot be fully absorbed in anything you are doing if you are continually distracted by what your mobile phone is doing to compete for your attention.  Since the dawn of text messaging, mobile phones provided plenty of distraction from anything people were doing.  Today, there are probably dozens of social media, game and other apps all competing for your love and time in your life.  Since people rely on their phones to keep their lives running (I know I do), ignoring the piteous cries from your phone can be difficult.

Apps for a distraction-free life

Happily, there is now an app for that.  Two, actually, which act pretty much as a carrot and a stick to keep you from playing with your phone.  Install both and enjoy twice the rewards for leaving your phone well alone!

Click Read more for details and download links.

Hold (“the carrot”)

Would you like to be paid in real Amazon/Caffe Nero/other shop credit for not checking your phone obsessively?  If so, then Hold is your new best friend.  This app rewards you with real credit for every 20 minutes you leave your phone alone and do not interact with it.  Read more about Hold.

Download Hold from the AppStore (iOS) or Google Play (Android).

Forest (“the stick… with a carrot dangling at the far end”)

Would you like a pretty graphic on your phone showing a little cartoon tree growing for so long as you do not touch it?  Forest rewards you for not interacting with your phone by showing a tiny seed grow into a flourishing little tree.  Over the course of a day, your tree will grow to completion and a tree will be planted in memory of the rapidly disappearing rainforest.  Log into your phone and you will kill your little digital tree!

Learn more and download Forest for iOS or Android.


SMS or Short Messaging Service text messaging is that strange app so many of you may never have opened that comes by default on all phones that is the less fun forerunner of WhatsApp, SnapChat, and whatever app arrived yesterday to replace them.  SMS text messaging was first used at a computing conference to disseminate what was happening to those who could not make it into the most popular conference sessions, and this grew later into the SMS based and later web based platform called Twitter.

Text messages also help miserly middle-aged people stay in touch after they run out of data and refuse for a top-up to their pay-as-you-go credit.  We understand that young people take pains never to run out of data, but if you ever do, hunt down the text messaging button and it should still work.  If you have a carrier signal, that is.  Text messaging doesn’t use wifi.  Feel free to start screaming again at the thought of technology that still operates independently of the internet.

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