The Norman Transcript

Community News Network

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 | Photo Reprints
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 12.51.22 PM.png VIDEO: Toddler climbs into vending machine

    A child is safe after climbing into and getting stuck inside a claw crane machine at a Lincoln, Neb., bowling alley Monday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • portraitoflotte.jpg VIDEO: From infant to teen in four minutes

    Dutch filmmaker Frans Hofmeester’s time lapse video of his daughter, Lotte — created by filming her every week from her birth until she turned 14 — has become a viral sensation.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Victimized by the 'marriage penalty'

    In a few short months, I'll pass the milestone that every little girl dreams of: the day she swears - before family and God, in sickness and in health, all in the name of love - that she's willing to pay a much higher tax rate.

    April 15, 2014

  • Allergies are the real midlife crisis

    One of the biggest mysteries is why the disease comes and goes, and then comes and goes again. People tend to experience intense allergies between the ages of 5 and 16, then get a couple of decades off before the symptoms return in the 30s, only to diminish around retirement age.

    April 15, 2014

  • treadmill-very-fast.jpg Tax deduction for a gym membership?

    April marks another tax season when millions of Americans will deduct expenses related to home ownership, children and education from their annual tax bill. These deductions exist because of their perceived value to society; they encourage behaviors that keep the wheels of the economy turning. So why shouldn't the tax code be revised to reward preventive health?

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • bomb1 VIDEO: A year after marathon bombing, Boston remains strong

    The City of Boston came together Tuesday to honor those who were injured and lost their lives at the Boston Marathon on the one-year anniversary of the bombing. While the day was sure to be emotional, those affected by last year's race are showing they won't let the tragedy keep them down.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Google acquires drone maker Titan Aerospace to spread Internet

    Google is adding drones to its fleets of robots and driverless cars.
    The Internet search company said it acquired Titan Aerospace, the maker of high-altitude, solar-powered satellites that provides customer access to data services around the world. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

    April 14, 2014

  • E-Cigarettes target youth with festivals, lawmakers say

    The findings, in a survey released Monday by members of Congress, should prod U.S. regulators to curb the industry, the lawmakers said. While e-cigarettes currently are unregulated, the Food and Drug Administration is working on a plan that would extend its tobacco oversight to the products.

    April 14, 2014

  • Search teams will send unmanned sub to look for missing Malaysian airliner

    Teams searching for a missing Malaysian airliner are planning for the first time to send an unmanned submarine into the depths of the Indian Ocean to look for wreckage, an Australian official leading the multi-nation search said Monday.

    April 14, 2014

  • Why Facebook is getting into the banking game

    Who would want to use Facebook as a bank? That's the question that immediately arises from news that the social network intends to get into the electronic money business.

    April 14, 2014

Video
Facebook