Commentary: I risked my money for a week so you don’t have to

Social media addiction is on the rise, and app developers are finding ways to help users curb their usage. Features editor Laura MacDonald found out more. (Content Pixie/Unsplash)

In order to be productive with schoolwork, chores and basic self-care, I used an app called Flora that would lock my phone. If I tried to open my phone, the app would kill a virtual plant that I was growing. With my poor attention span, this stopped working and I realized I needed to up the stakes.

At first, the app worked because I was always excited to see what plant would appear in my virtual garden after 45 minutes of work. It was also flawed because while I wasn’t using my phone, I would often find myself on my laptop in the study hall. 

Then I heard about a website called stickK that will donate to a charity you don’t support instead of killing a virtual plant. Naturally, I chose to donate $40 to the National Rifle Association if I didn’t meet my goal of “not being a shit.”

They give you the option to honour your commitment or have a friend become your referee. I don’t trust myself in the slightest so I gave stickK my friend’s email. Since my friend is in Halifax I had to send her pictures of me eating healthy meals, doing work, my screen time and self-care activities like doing my skincare routine.

I felt like this was too easy because my drive to not donate to the NRA was strong. 

I found another website called Go Fucking Do It. I gave the website $50 and made my rules a little harder. I had to wake up early, eat breakfast, do school work and skincare but the major rule was that I couldn’t curse. 

The person that oversaw this contract was The Aquinian’s sports editor Billy Cole. He seemed like someone I could trust – the power seemed to go to his head but that was a good motivator. 

At first, the idea of losing $90 was working. I passed up opportunities to go out with friends and even made my health a priority. 

Things were going great, my screen time started to go down and I was reading for enjoyment before bed instead of scrolling through my phone – but then all hell broke loose. 

Over the next three days my favourite video podcast, Frenemies, released three episodes all adding up to about seven hours of content. A big news story that I was heavily invested in, David Dobrik’s vlog squad sexual assault allegations, broke and the podcast covered it. I could see my friends talking about it in the group chat. I was in agony. 

I had to watch the episodes as soon as possible. Staying up late to watch them when all of my work was done and still getting up early was not the best idea. 

By the end of the week, I felt burnt out and tired, but I refused to give money to the NRA or Cole. 

I somehow pushed through and sent my friend a text that said “no NRA today.”

She was so relieved, she said “I’m so glad not to be put in that moral dilemma.” 

Cole wasn’t available for comment. 

After using stickK and Go Fucking Do It for a week would I recommend it? No. I was only driven by spite and felt extreme burnout.

I do recommend getting a planner.