Glued is an app for smartphones and tablets that monitors daily usage and helps families tackle the growing worldwide problem of device dependency. It does this through a unique method of rewarding points to parents and kids for positive device usage, device downtime and sticking to daily screen time limits.
There is now an abundance of evidence to show that excessive screen time can lead to a wide range of behavioral and developmental problems in children and young people. A child born today will have spent a full year glued to screens by the time they reach the age of 7.
Although many parents have a nagging sense that they should do more to limit screen-time they are often at a loss as to how to go about this. It can be extremely challenging and frustrating and can lead to family discord.
Too much time spent on devices can lead to a myriad of problems including irritability when interrupted, sleep disturbance, isolation from family and peers, attention deficit, moodiness and weight gain.
Today's children are clocking up on average 7 hours of screen time per day even though the recommended daily allowance is no more than 2 hours.
Device dependency is not an issue unique to children. In the UK the average person now spends more time on media devices each day than sleeping.
The Glued app rewards points to family members for healthier device usage enabling parents and children to compete and work together to meet weekly targets.
By using the carrot rather than the stick method Glued will help families to unglue from their devices by incentivising with points that lead to rewards. Parents will have more control over screen time and thereby argue less with their kids.
Device users will become more productive as a result of better sleep patterns (it has been shown that using a smartphone just before bed suppresses the bodies’ melatonin levels by as much as 22% - melatonin is the chemical that promotes sleep).
Periodically throughout the day Glued wants to encourage children and parents to earn Glued points by talking to them through Siri: “Finn, it’s time for Downtime on your iPad! Keep it locked for the next hour to win 20 points!” or “Nick, checking your iPhone now isn’t going to help you sleep well tonight”.
Substantial accomplishments to date
We’ve developed a working prototype of Glued that accurately monitors device usage on iPhones and iPads and syncs the data via a cloud-based platform across multiple devices.
The biggest technical challenge with the prototype has been to preserve battery life but ideally not at the expense of losing powerful real-time features like seeing exactly when your kids are online via your own device. So far we’ve managed to achieve 3% battery usage during a 24 hour period of monitoring.
In addition to the technical prototype Keir Ansell has crafted beautiful UI designs for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch that are clean, modern and in keeping with Apple’s own iOS user interface design style.
Award-winning animator and BAFTA judge, Nick Murray-Willis, has created a fun, engaging and informative product animation about how Glued can help families overcome device dependency and work together to lead healthier lives (see above).
Glued intends to implement a freemium subscription-based business model similar to other Software as a Service apps like Dropbox, Spotify and RunKeeper that would include:
# One Universal app (works natively both on iPhone and iPad)
# Free download from the App Store via the Health & Fitness category
# 5-10% conversion rate to premium users
# Paying users will make low-cost recurring subscription payments for premium services tailored to individuals or families.
We see Glued as having long-term value and consumer loyalty. The problem that the app addresses is one that will exist as long as people continue to use smartphones and tablets therefore we predict high user retention and growth.
Glued premium features will include:
# Unlimited number of devices can be connected (free package will permit you to track a maximum of 2 additional devices)
# Historical Stats - view the full device points and usage history for all connected devices (free package will only show current weekly stats)
# Real-time monitoring – ability to see exactly which of your family members are on their devices in real-time, wherever they are.
Every 3 months: £4.99
Family packages (2 adults + up to 4 children):
Every 3 months: £9.99
Use of proceeds
The proceeds will be used to hire talent for the development and marketing of the Glued app for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets.
Glued will be primarily targeted at families with a child or children that own their own smartphone or tablet. Last year, Ofcom’s Media Use and Attitudes report revealed that more than a third of children aged 5-15 in the UK own their own tablet. Based on current growth rates we expect this figure to rise to over half of all 5-15 year olds by 2016.
Although our primary target market is families, Glued could equally be used by friends or colleagues who want to compete or work together to combat device dependency. Being glued to our devices is not an uncommon issue for most smartphone and tablet owners.
We believe that a large proportion of the hundreds of millions of iPhone and iPad owning family members are spending too much time on their devices and would like to improve their daily usage and lead healthier lives. We think that Glued is just the right kind of positive motivating tool to achieve this goal.
Device dependency is a global problem with a global market for software solutions. China has now overtaken the USA in sales of Apple devices accounting for over 30% of Apple’s global quarterly income earlier this year. In China ‘Internet Addiction Disorder’ is a classified clinical disorder where boot camps have been set up to treat children and teenage sufferers. We intend to localise the Glued App and launch a Chinese language version specifically for this high growth market.
We feel that Glued has the potential to become a long-term companion app for parents and monetisation chances are high because of the ongoing daily support Glued provides.
Characteristics of target market
Globally there are over 800 million Apple App Store account holders with a growth rate of around 250 million new accounts each year. We anticipate approximately one third of these customers being family members (parents or their kids) giving Glued a target market of around 266 million users globally.
The Glued app will initially launch on iOS followed by the development of a native smartphone and tablet app for Android once we’ve perfected the iOS experience. This will more than double our potential market and enable Glued to meet the requirements of nearly all multi-device households.
Currently, the overall parental control software market is worth over $1 billion and forecast to double by 2018. The market is primarily driven by parental spending and to a lesser extent educational institutions such as schools.
In advance of launching Glued we plan to run an extensive TestFlight Beta Test on up to 1000 iPhones and iPads owned by local Brighton-based families.
We will then launch a highly polished version 1 Glued app. The App Store's search algorithm is very favourable in launch week to help new apps get discovered. But this preferential treatment only lasts if your app hits good numbers from the get-go and gains momentum. By launching with a highly tested, intuitive, bug-free app we believe we'll be able to gain early customer loyalty and user retention, great App Store ratings and reviews and hit the ground running from the start.
In order to get this vital early momentum we will be reaching out to the media pre and post-launch. We think that Glued provides a new and innovative approach to a highly topical issue that will help to generate a lot of press interest.
We will run a marketing campaign aimed at parents who we will contact via schools. We plan to offer free 3-month Glued Premium upgrade codes to all schools to share with parents via their email newsletters. We anticipate that many of these free trial promotions will lead to loyal paying subscribers once the promotion ends.
We will also be reaching out directly to government educational departments seeking to raise awareness and find solutions to device dependency in families. If we are successful in forming partnerships with government, we believe Glued will gain a wider market and the government will benefit from providing a technology built for good. A technology that incentivises kids to spend less time glued to their devices and more time doing healthier activities such as sport that in turn helps reduce obesity levels.
We’re working on a future feature for Glued called “Things to Do to Unglue” whereby the Glued app and website will proactively encourage alternative activities to device time. This initiative will involve forming commercial relationships with organisations such as gyms, sports clubs and campsites. This strategy has the potential to create an additional revenue stream from commission-based referrals.
We expect high-speed growth that will be powered by a strong global marketing campaign targeted at schools and government educational departments.
The idea of kids getting rewarded for positive device usage is a great story that we intend to capitalise on with the media attention that we anticipate this highly topical issue is likely to generate.
As parents of a headstrong, tech savvy 12 year old boy, my wife and I have tried all sorts of techniques to reduce Finn's iPad usage. Creating and implementing rules about time limits and downtime are never easy to implement and inevitably lead to family arguments.
There are a few competitor apps like Moment, ParentKit and OurPact but they all use the stick approach to attempt to enforce downtime and time limits. Most kids find ways to break these apps in no time (Finn did!). Apple’s iOS sandboxing means that 3rd-party apps have very limited enforcement powers anyway.
We think Glued's unique points reward system will succeed in winning over kids (and their parents) where our competitors have failed.