Polk Co. ‘social media queen’ wins Flip Phone Challenge, donates money to Dorian relief

Polk County

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Melissa Nichols has no shame in admitting she spends a lot of time on her smartphone.

“I probably spend 12 hours a day on my phone. Probably an average of 250 texts a day. Probably spend four or five hours on social media,” said Nichols.

Over the last decade and a half, the Kathleen mom has gone through nearly 20 cell phones.

“I use them so much, they don’t last very long,” Nichols explained.

The self -proclaimed social media queen says her phone addiction came to a halt after she checked her email one day and learned someone had entered her into a national contest: Frontier Communications’ Flip Phone Challenge.

“I thought this was a joke because I would not have entered myself in this,” said Nichols.

Nichols tells 8 On Your Side she gladly accepted their challenge: Give up her smartphone for a week and use a flip phone instead.

“They did this research so they can see how people are using connectivity inside and outside of their home,” said Nichols.

The challenge also honored the 30th anniversary of the first-ever flip phone.

“With the flip phone, I saved a lot of money. I did no online shopping that week. I had to stand in line. I could not order my food and just go to the counter and pick it up. I got lost a lot. I was late everywhere I went,” said Nichols.

The Polk County woman who raises cattle and works in insurance sales says she used her time unplugged wisely.

“I spent more time with my kids and my family. I probably was more dedicated to work that week. I did get more sleep at night,” said Nichols.

Ultimately, Nichols made it a week without using her smartphone and won $1,000 from Frontier Communications. She tells 8 On Your Side her prize money was donated to Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in the Bahamas. 

“It was actually a really neat thing in the end that ended up coming out of it,” said Nichols.

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