After a sun-drenched summer holiday, students everywhere are about to be flocking back into the classroom.
For most, that means endless hours in the library, mountains of homework, plenty of revision — and distractions everywhere. Schools and colleges have always been a place for gossip, rumors, and games, but the arrival of smartphones and the increasing rise of social media means the situation is worse than ever.
If you want to focus on your grades in a productive and distraction-free environment, here are seven Android apps that you should delete right now.
1. After School
After School is aimed at high school and middle school students rather than college students.
It brands itself as an “anonymous and private message board for your school”. Users can post pictures, rumors, and love letters without repercussions from parents or teachers.
Needless to say, it’s developed a reputation for cyber-bullying – but that’s not stopped millions of children signing up. It’s been so successful that in February it secured another $16.4 million in new funding.
Even if you ignore the app’s questionable morality, if you’re serious about getting good grades, give it a wide berth – knowing that Sally fancies Tom or that your English teacher is having an affair with your History teacher won’t help you get into Harvard.
Download: After School
Games are the ideal tonic for boring lectures; if your 75-year-old professor’s speech on criminal law in revolutionary France is sending you to sleep, there are quite literally millions of addictive games in the Google Play Store that’ll help you slip away into your own world. You’ll be on the bus back home before you know it.
I picked QuizUp for this list because it still maintains a semblance of educational value. It’s a multiplayer trivia game that lets you challenge both friends and strangers to a battle of the brain on topics that interest you.
While it might be nice to brag that you know more about the rivers of Asia than your best friend, it’s not terribly useful information if you’re majoring in Philosophy. Delete it.
Along with Wikipedia, Reddit is the leader of Internet rabbit holes. With approximately 850,000 subreddits and 230 million users, you are sure to find someone to talk to on almost any subject you want.
After a long absence, there is now an official Reddit app on the Android operating system, though most users choose a third-party offering instead.
Whatever you use, get rid of it. Internet points really don’t mean anything, no matter how devastating it might be if you get downvoted hundreds of times for accidentally offending someone.
StumbleUpon is another massive time waster.
For readers who might not be aware, you just plug in your interests, hit the button, and you’ll be taken on a never-ending journey through appealing news, photos, videos, art, and memes. In short – it removes the “what shall I look at” part of browsing the web.
With more content being added all the time, you shouldn’t stumble across the same page twice. But that also means you could be stumbling for a while.
Download: StumbleUpon [No longer available]
5. Yik Yak
Yik Yak is another app that’s heavily geared towards people in school.
It is similar to After School, but instead of only being visible to people in your school, the messages are visible to anyone who’s nearby. That made it great for large university towns where there might be three of four different campuses within one metropolitan area.
Messages used to be totally anonymous, however, profiles have recently been introduced – much to the chagrin of long-term users.
You can see some of their reactions in the reviews:
If you still use this app, perhaps you should follow the crowd and delete it – the last thing you need is another Twitter-esque experience to waste your time.
Download: Yik Yak [No longer available]
6. Pokemon Go
I’ve refused to read about it, download it, or even look at it on someone else’s phone. Mainly because it doesn’t really interest me, but also because If I had, there is a decent chance I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this article now; I’d still be in bed after chasing a virtual creature around my university’s science labs at four in the morning.
Take it from someone who’s spent far too much of his life playing the various releases of FIFA and Football Manager: there are better and more important things to focus on. There really are.
Download: Pokemon Go
Facebook is out, Instagram is going out, Snapchat is in — at least if you fall in the 15-23 year-old age demographic.
Teenagers and young adults love Snapchat — it’s private, instant, and disappears quickly. While the older generations might struggle to see the appeal in watching someone else’s highlights from their day at school, for youngsters, it’s a dream come true.
If it wasn’t already distracting enough, earlier this year the app introduced “Memories”. It allows users to create longer stories from their old snaps — thereby wasting even more time.
The temporary nature will make you feel like you have to use it right now, so it’s better to just uninstall it for good.
What Would You Delete?
If you really can’t tear yourself away from your screen, you could try an app to help your curb your smartphone addition, there are lots of options to try. We took a look at four of the best, but we’d love to hear your suggestions too.
And if all else fails, just buy an old Nokia 3210 (but don’t open Snake!).
What apps have you found to be most distracting? Do you have a certain game or social media network that’s your guilty pleasure?
Let us know the about your productivity-killers in the comments section below.