Time Locking Container

Time Locking Container

What is a time locking container?

The time locking container can be used by students to stop their mobile phone from distracting them when revising or completing homework. A student or parent can place a mobile phone in the container before setting the timer for a certain period. The box remains locked until the timer runs out, giving the student an enforced break from the distractions of their phone.

Why use a time locking container?

Mobile phone addiction and the problems mobile phones create are becoming more and more prominent, with Ofcom finding that children are spending as much as 12 hours a day online. Research has shown that it doesn’t matter whether or not the mobile phone is being used – the mere presence of one whilst doing a task has been shown to reduce performance by 20%.

75% of students consider themselves procrastinators, with 50% of them doing so to a level that is seen as problematic – and mobile phones are considered to be one of the most common ways to procrastinate. Therefore, if students’ mobile phones are locked away, this could remove one of the barriers that stops students from working to their full potential.

This is why a time locking container can provide an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach, removing the distraction that mobile phones provide when students should instead be completing homework or revising for exams.

Who are time locking containers for?

A time locking container is suitable for a student of any age who is often distracted by their mobile phone when completing homework or revision.

Evidence base

Many young people have this perception that they can efficiently multi-task, such that they can complete homework or revision whilst using their mobile phone. However, multi-tasking is actually impossible. Those who revise near their mobile phones find it difficult to concentrate. Evidence suggests that even listening to music on a mobile phone reduces one’s ability to perform well during independent study.

Multi-tasking causes errors to be made and reduces productivity, as it takes time to switch from one task to another. Multi-tasking also causes high levels of stress and a decline in performance on a range of cognitive tasks.


It appears that nearly all modern day students are distracted by their phone. The time locking container provides the perfect solution to this problem and it can be used by all students, regardless of their age and ability. Once it arrives, it is ready to be used immediately as no extra equipment is needed nor is it particularly hard to use.


This device offers flexibility. It can be tailored around the student’s revision plan as they and/or their parents can determine the period of time their phone will be locked away for. The time locking container can also be used as a source of motivation, as the student knows that if they complete a pre-determined amount of revision, they will be rewarded with something they want.

That being said, the time locking container does not teach students skills needed to self-regulate and manage their attention, as it simply removes the distraction. It operates on an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ philosophy.

Financial cost

The price of a time locking container varies hugely depending on the quality and the functions you are looking for it to carry out. However, our suggestion is Kitchen Safe, a mid-range model, available for £59.90 on Amazon.

The pros

  • Removes distractions – often, starting the task is the hardest part. But by taking away the distraction of a mobile phone, students are encouraged to start revising and engage.
  • Flexibility – students and/or their parents decide on how long the phone is locked away for, and this can be tailored around the student’s revision plan.
  • Accessible – no specific skills or training is needed to use the device, hence it can be used by students of all ages and abilities.
  • Motivational – students know that, if they work hard for a pre-determined period of time, they will be rewarded with their phone.

The cons

  • Costly – our recommended time locking container, Kitchen Safe is quite expensive, costing £49.95 when ordered from Amazon.
  • Insufficient – students cannot solely rely on the time locking container, as they still need to ensure they are making the most of their revision time and employing effective techniques.

Final thoughts

The time locking container presents a very simple solution to an ever-growing problem. It seems that if you lock students’ phones away and give them no choice but to start their revision or homework, it is likely they will engage in the task and see it through to completion. It’s not the cheapest solution, but it is certainly an effective one.

Alternatives to kitchen safe

TechDen– this device offers a more comprehensive, high tech solution but this of course comes at a price. Tech Den costs £150 and is a new product that is soon to be released (currently available for pre-order). The device not only locks away the phone but also charges it for the desired period of time. It is also linked to an app which gives students regular notifications on how much longer they can continue to use their phone for before it needs to be returned to the den, and allows parents and children to set up reward schedules for successful limitation of screen time.

Related Resources

If you would like to find out more about how to prepare for exams and revise more effectively, why not take a look at some of our blogs? Here are a few of our favourites:

Alternatively, if you would like further tips on how to reduce your mobile phone use/addiction, we have written blogs on this too, here are 3 to get you started:

Our Review Summary

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As mobile phone addiction becomes more and more prevalent, tools like the Time Locking Container are offering a solution to avoid students getting distracted or completely side-tracked by their phones while studying.

The concept is fairly simple: place your child’s phone in the container and set a timer for a certain distraction-free period during which it will remain completely locked in.

While this does not teach students any skills to self-regulate and manage their attention as it simply removes the distraction, it will still help them stay on track. It can also be used as a source of motivation as phone time can be a reward for a certain amount of work completed.