An unlikely company is tackling the widespread cultural problem of smartphone addiction in a unique way: bribery.
Vitaminwater is willing to pay $100,000 to anyone who can go an entire year without a smartphone.
The company is posing the “scroll-free life” challenge to anyone who can spend all 365 days of 2019 without their pocket-sized computers. Anyone who can make it six months will earn $10,000.
Those willing to risk the backlash of not having social media at their fingertips can enter the challenge by posting a photo to Twitter or Instagram explaining why you need a break from your cell phone and what you’d do with the time. Posts should include the hashtag #nophoneforaayear and #contest. Entries will be made by Jan. 8.
The contest rules clarify that your cell phone is likely a smartphone if it can get on the internet and texting is a pleasant experience. It also clarifies that tablets also aren’t allowed and neither is using someone else’s smartphone. The rules don’t go into detail about how the year-long technology abstinence will be proven, but the company indicates that a lie detector test is involved.
For a good number of people, accomplishing the task would be a hard feat. Nomophobia, the fear of being without your smartphone, is a real thing and it affects 40% of people, Psychology Today says.
It’s a problem that many have come to terms with and one that higher-ups in tech companies are trying to tackle.
For instance, Apple’s latest iOS software includes a Screen Time tool, which notifies users how much phone time they’re logging each day and allows them to schedule “downtime,” which limits the apps available for a set period of time.
While Vitaminwater’s contest may seem like easy money, it may be harder than you think. Consider this: If you’re like 85% of adults, then you’re likely even reading this news story from a smartphone.