Get off social media for good.

By Travel + Leisure
April 26, 2021
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Woman using her smart phone at home
Credit: Carlina Teteris/Getty

This story originally appeared on TravelandLeisure.com by Stacey Leasca.

Over the last year, we bet your screen time has absolutely exploded. And hey, no judgment, it's been a weird time and the only solace was endlessly scrolling Instagram meme accounts to find a quick hit of laughter. But now, HowNow, an intelligent learning platform, is hoping you'll hit "close" on Instagram and open an educational app instead. They'll even pay you for it.

Over the last few months, the platform collected screen time data from 1,000 adults in the United Kingdom and found the average adult now spends 58 minutes a day on Instagram. In an effort to change our app behavior to something potentially more useful, the platform is recruiting three members of the public to replace their Instagram time with learning a new skill of their choosing as part of its Study Contractors program. And they'll pay the winning candidates $692 a month for three months to do it.

"Instead of scrolling, the successful candidates will dedicate that time to their new chosen skill, in an attempt to find out what can be learned when social media use is reduced or replaced," the platform shared in a statement. (Related: Is It Possible to Temporarily Go Blind from Extreme Screen Use?)

"When the UK's first lockdown was announced a little over a year ago, it seemed inevitable that we would turn to our devices as the primary view of the outside world and screen time would shoot up. And doom-scrolling Instagram has been one of the biggest offenders in that sense. However, with restrictions easing, now might be the time to focus our energy on something more productive," Nelson Sivalingam, CEO and co-founder of HowNow, said. "At HowNow our goal has always been to make learning in the workplace more relevant and engaging. However, it doesn't matter how relevant something is if you don't make time for it, and I think we can all agree that social media can feel like a time parasite. You hear a lot about the '10,000 hours' theory, but we want to really put it to the test, and see just how proficient someone can get at a new hobby if they stop scrolling for just three months."

The chosen candidates will be able to work remotely, and choose what skills they learn, as long as it's not something they've studied before (think learning a new language, learning an instrument, how to crochet, or anything you can dream of). HowNow will also provide the Study Contractors with the resources and tools they need to study in their chosen skill.

Each candidate will be expected to submit weekly reports on their progress and experience to their line manager. At the end of the three months, the Study Contractors will need to present their new skill, so education consultants from HowNow can determine "what level they have managed to attain from 58 minutes of 'study' or 'practice' a day."

The company noted, its ideal candidate is 18 years old or older, a "self-starter," and "ambitious and eager to learn." See more about the job and apply here.

Stacey Leasca is a journalist, photographer, and media professor. Send tips and follow her on Instagram (unless you delete it) now.

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