Mt. Vernon Register-News

Features

August 26, 2013

New app quizzes kids before smartphone use

CHAZY, N.Y. — Erick Vreeken's two teenage children aren't unlike most smartphone-carrying students across the country. Prying them away from their phones long enough to speak a few sentences is a challenge.

But when Vreeken noticed phone use was interfering with his children’s grades, the 40-year-old from Chazy, N.Y., decided to do something about it. Instead of keeping his kids away from their phones, Vreeken decided to turn his children's cellphone use into a learning experience.

"In an age of digital distraction, the key is to get something out of it," Vreeken said.

Vreeken has developed Study Lock, a smartphone application that blocks teenagers' access unless they answer grade-appropriate multiple choice questions in subjects such as math, science, writing and history.

He is using crowd-sourced online fundraising to pay for the app, which he hopes to launch for the public on Sept. 2.

Study Lock kicks in when phones go on standby.

"Every time you swipe to unlock your phone, you will be presented with Study Lock," Vreeken said.

Until users answer questions prompted by the application, they are blocked from playing games, using the Internet and delivering text messages to numbers that are not pre-designated as emergency contacts or 911. 

Questions vary in difficulty. 

Examples include "Who was the first president of the United States?" and "What is the symbol for helium on the periodic table of elements?"

In addition to helping kids learn, Study Lock will users incentives such as prizes. Vreeken hopes to gather funds to purchase gifts such as phones, laptops and even college scholarships.

Vreeken also wants to give app users the ability to track their success. Parents can get emails on their children's performance, including grades for each subject.

Vreekan initially worked on the app himself. He then hired software developers to aid in his pursuit. 

Currently, he is generating awareness and funds by partnering with Rocket Hub, an online community where visitors can pledge their support or funds. That fundraiser ends Aug. 30.

Details for this story were reported by The Press Republican in Plattsburgh, N.Y.

1
Text Only
Features
  • Screen Shot 2014-07-28 at 2.21.22 PM.png VIDEO: Dog 'faints' from excitement of seeing owner

    A reunion between a Pennsylvania woman who had been living overseas for two years and her pet schnauzer has gone viral, garnering nearly 20 million views on YouTube.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • cleaning supplies Don't judge mothers with messy homes

    I was building shelves in my garage when a neighbor girl, one of my 4-year-old daughter's friends, approached me and said, "I just saw in your house. It's pretty dirty. Norah's mommy needs to clean more."

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Has the ipad lost its swag?

      The company reported this week that sales of its sleek, pricey tablet were down 19 percent from last quarter and 9 percent year-over-year. CEO Tim Cook tried to reassure investors that Apple's new partnership with IBM to sell its devices to IBM's corporate customers will help make iPads ubiquitous in the workplace. "This isn't something that worries us," he said of the iPad sales decline. But the numbers are disappointing no matter how you spin them.

    July 24, 2014

  • Darth Vader is polling higher than all potential 2016 presidential candidates

    On the other hand, with a net favorability of -8, Jar Jar is considerably more popular than the U.S. Congress, which currently enjoys a net favorability rating of -65.

    July 23, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 22, 2014

  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Screen Shot 2014-07-16 at 11.16.48 AM.png VIDEO: Comcast apologizes after customer service call goes viral

    Comcast issued an apology after one of its representatives kept a customer captive on the phone for nearly 20 minutes, demanding to know why he was choosing another cable provider.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • 20110929_bowling.jpg Why fewer people go bowling

    Like other industries facing tough economic times, America's bowling centers are trying to reinvent themselves.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks