Manage your smartphone addiction with Forest [App of the Week]

According to a May 2016 study from Common Sense Media, 50 percent of American teens feel addicted to their mobile devices.

The issue can get even more difficult to deal with when a teen leaves for college, and becomes more independently responsible for their time management. That’s why perhaps one of the most essential apps to download for back to school is Forest, a tool that manages to gamify staying off your phone.

The simplistic app lets you do one thing: plant a tree and wait for a set period of time as it grows. If you want to leave the tree at any point within that time to go check something else in your phone, the tree dies and you lose the game. As you become more accomplished at resisting the temptations of your mini portal to the internet, you earn coins that can be used to purchase and plant different kinds of trees — like a tree with a treehouse or a nest in it.

forest app 2

It’s certainly not the most fascinating game you’ll ever play, but I believe that’s the point. For those interested in keeping accountable, you can also share your best times to social media.

While this is an excellent app for students and teens, it can also be just as helpful for all the so-called ‘adults’ out there who manage to lose themselves in Instagram for hours on end when they should be working.

Because as much as I’d like to think I have the discipline to avoid my phone when I need to, the added incentive of collecting cutely rendered trees might, as odd as it sounds, be what really helps keep me accountable.

The app is available for free on both the App Store and Google Play.