New Mobile Phone App is Encouraging Students not to Look at Their Phone
The seemingly paradoxical strategy is designed to help distracted students get away from their screens and back to their books. The Hold Student app was developed in Scandinavia and uses a smart incentive scheme to encourage students to put away their phone. Users are given points for every 20 minutes they don’t unlock or push any buttons on their phone.
Hold Student have even formed partnerships with a wide range of companies that count students among their most loyal customers. These include Amazon, the Vue cinema chain, and Cafe Nero, which all offer discounts on books, films and coffee depending on how many points the student has accrued.
As an example, users will get 10 points for every 20 minutes they manage to escape their phone. With 150 points they can nab a free box of popcorn at a participating Vue cinema. Whether it is healthier to eat popcorn or not look at your phone for five hours is another question.
Unfortunately for phone-addicted professionals the app is only available for students with an active college or university email address, for whom it is free to download. It also doesn’t dish out points between 11pm and 7am so sleeping doesn’t count.
Sexting is Now a Major Part of the Teenage Landscape, Warn Pediatricians
A new study found that one in four young people have received ‘sexts’ – texts with an overt sexual theme – with the number rising substantially in recent years. The researchers, who published their work in the JAMA Pediatrics journal, surveyed data from dozens of prior research projects. More than 110,380 American youngsters aged 11-18 were asked about their personal experience with sexting over a ten year period.
Unsurprisingly sexting has become far more common as mobile phone usage has shot up among teens since the smartphone revolution. On average, the young people consulted in the survey received their first mobile phone at the age of ten.
What did surprise the researchers was the ubiquitousness of sexting. While one in four had received a sext, one in seven admitted sending one. One in eight claimed to have been ‘sexted’ by someone they had no interest in. Co-author of the study and psychiatry professor, Jeff Temple, said: “As tweens and kid smartphone ownership gets younger and younger, we are going to see an increase in the number of teens who are sexting,” Temple said.
‘Tween’s are children aged 10-12. Temple and the study’s other authors voiced fears that, at such a young age, boys and girls could fall victim to bullying or extortion via sexting and forced to send nude photos of themselves to older or more streetsmart teenagers.
“Younger teens who have less developed frontal lobes are less able to think through things than older teens. They are likely more vulnerable to being coerced into sexting or to participate in non-consensual sexting,” said Sheri Madigan, an assistant psychology professor.
Private universities taking over
Private colleges and universities now have more than 56 million students on their books worldwide. New research shows that around one in three students is enrolled in a fee-paying private institution. The estimated 56.7 million students in private higher education account for 32.9% of the global student population. Interestingly the US, once the worldwide leader in private education, now falls below the global average.
The 27.5% of American students enrolled privately represent just one tenth of the worldwide total. In Asia, 42.1% of students are in private programs, while in Latin America the figure is even higher at 48.8%.
In South Korea and Japan the proportion of privately enrolled students stands at 80.7% and 78.6% respectively. Brazil isn’t far behind at 78.6%, while in India the figure is 58.3%.
Meanwhile the proportion of private students in Russia is just 14.7% and in China 19.6%. European countries, Canada, Australia and New Zealand also have much lower proportions of private students, averaging around 10%.
The report, published in the Higher Education journal, concludes that private sector involvement in the education sphere has become a global phenomenon. Whereas decades ago higher education was considered a public responsibility in the vast majority of countries outside the US, the tide has now shifted.