Emily McCarter, 23News Staff Writer

Students are now being encouraged by a smartphone application to put away their phones and pay more attention in class. Pocket Points is an app that rewards students for not checking their phone during a lecture or lab on campus.

The app began at Chico State University in Chico, CA. Chico State students Rob Richardson and Mitch Gardner created Pocket Points as an incentive for kids to put down their phones. The idea is simple: the longer your phone is locked, the more points you accumulate.

According to Pocket Point’s website, “Pocket Points is a new mobile application that gives students rewards for not using their phones during class. Simply open up the application, lock your phone, and start gaining points. Points are then used to get awesome discounts at local and online businesses!”

Some of the Columbia businesses that currently participate in Pocket Points include Yogoluv, Hot Box Cookies, Jamba Juice, ThreadBare and Cold Stone Creamery. Businesses are encouraged by Pocket Points to join the app, because it gives them exposure and the business gets to choose what their discounts are and how many “points” they will charge.

For example, a student can receive 20% off of any small smoothie at Jamba Juice for 30 points and a “buy one ice cream, get one free” discount at Cold Stone Creamery for 50 points.

MU senior Jeremy Terman is the Pocket Points representative for MU. He works with a team of people on MU’s campus to promote the new app. On Oct. 4, Terman reported that 7,300 students had downloaded Pocket Points. It officially came to MU on Aug. 24 and is continuing to grow in popularity.

Pocket Points is free to download and is available in the App Store and Google Play. With only benefits and no costs, many students have been eager to create an account.