The founders of Uptime (from left to right) Jamie True, Patrick Walker and Jack Bekhor. Their company is offering cash incentives to participants in a study who agree to withdraw from social media activities. (Caroline True, Uptime/Zenger)



By Peter Barker

A London-based company is offering internet users 2,000 British pounds ($2,730) to “go cold turkey” and give up social media for two months.


Uptime, an app that offers thousands of life lessons and five-minute “knowledge hacks,” is hoping to find out how social media is affecting users’ well-being and productivity.

“At Uptime we want to discover the impact social media and ‘doomscrolling’ has on a person’s productivity, well-being and self-growth, so over the next couple of months we will be carrying out a study to discover just this,” Uptime says on its website.

Uptime, an app that offers thousands of life lessons and five-minute “knowledge hacks,” is hoping to find out how social media is affecting users’ well-being and productivity. (Caroline True, Uptime/Zenger)

“Like most things in life, social media has its downfalls, but it can also be great for many people, from providing work to offering people a platform to express themselves and their hobbies — as well of course helping people to connect,” Uptime said.

Doomscrolling is generally defined as continuing to consume or scroll through bad news online, even though the news is upsetting or depressing.

“We’re not against social media at all, but we do see the problems with ‘doomscrolling,’ where people just consume negative news and opinions.” the Uptime statement said.

While social media addiction is not currently a recognized diagnosis, some studies have shown parallels between how some people respond to the feelings of social well-being provided by social media — first developing a tolerance, then the need for more — and drug and alcohol addiction.

Participants in the Uptime study will record their happiness, behavior and productivity levels as they spend two months away from Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and other social media platforms. (Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

“Experts have warned that ‘doomscrolling’ can be harmful to mental health and that social media can be a behavioral addiction. Studies have proven that social media can increase dopamine levels in the same part of the brain that drugs and alcohol can, meaning when a person gets a notification or ‘like’ they can experience the same highs other addictive substances similarly cause,” the Uptime statement said.

Participants in the Uptime study will be asked to record their happiness, behavior and productivity levels as they will no longer be spending free time on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and other social media platforms.

The successful “social media quitter” will be asked to fill out frequent questionnaires and to keep both a written and video journal to record their experience. Study participants can also receive money to spend on online resources to improve their self-growth and well-being.

“No previous qualifications or experience are required for the role,” the Uptime statement said. “However, we do ask that any hopeful applicants are over the age of 18 and be a self-confessed social media lover with at least four profiles on either Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube.”

Edited by Richard Pretorius and Kristen Butler

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