After being cut off from her iPhone for 8 months, woman closes in on $100,000 prize

After being cut off from her iPhone for 8 months, woman closes in on $100,000 prize
Last December, we told you that Vitamin Water was running a promotion that would pay someone $100,000 if they gave up their smartphone for one year. Out of more than 100,000 entries, the company chose 29-year old Elana Mugdan from Queens, New York back in January. Mugdan, a fiction writer, gave up her Apple iPhone 5s and received a Kyocera flip phone that she is allowed to use to make calls and text. And once the year is up, she still has to pass a lie detector test in order to collect the dough. Besides the flip phone, she is allowed to access desktop or laptop computers and smart speakers.

According to, Mugdan has completed eight months of the "Scroll Free for a Year" challenge and has told the media that getting away from using a smartphone has made her more self-aware about some of her bad habits. But it hasn't been easy for Mugdan as a couple of times she found herself in situations where having a smartphone would have made her life much easier. One time she nearly got stranded in the SeaTac airport because she had written down a phone number incorrectly and had no way to find the right number. Nor could she arrange for an Uber or call a cab.

Another time, as she was driving late at night in an unfamiliar area, her car's "check engine" light went on. All she could do was keep her fingers crossed. Without GPS, she didn't know where she was and couldn't see how far away she was from the nearest rest stop. And without a phone that would allow her to share videos and photos or browse through social media, Mugdan says that she feels disconnected from others. Despite this isolated feeling, Mugdan says that she will never go back to using a smartphone after the contest ends.

Would you be able to give up your smartphone for a year?

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