A Social Media Fast for Teens?

In a recent worldwide broadcast to youth ages 12 to 18, Russell M. Nelson, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, challenged teens to put down their phones and put aside social media in order to focus on living healthy lives and pursuing more spiritual matters.

In his address, he specifically asked the youth to “take a break from fake” with a 7-day social media fast–a piece of advice relevant to people of all ages. Below is an excerpt from President Nelson’s speech:

I acknowledge that there are positives about social media. But if you are paying more attention to feeds from social media than you are to the whisperings of the Spirit, then you are putting yourself at spiritual risk—as well as the risk of experiencing intense loneliness and depression. You and I both know youth who have been influenced through social media to do and say things that they never would do or say in person. Bullying is one example.

Another downside of social media is that it creates a false reality. Everyone posts their most fun, adventurous, and exciting pictures, which create the erroneous impression that everyone except you is leading a fun, adventurous, and exciting life. Much of what appears in your various social media feeds is distorted, if not fake. So give yourself a seven-day break from fake!

Choose seven consecutive days and go for it! See if you notice any difference in how you feel and what you think, and even how you think, during those seven days. After seven days, notice if there are some things you want to stop doing and some things you now want to start doing.”

I have been thinking a lot about this topic lately. We can definitely #UseTech4Good! But around here, we’re also big fans of Screen Free Week. Isn’t it ironic that sometimes we humans just need to unplug in order to recharge?

We heard similar advice from Laura Welch, a speaker at the SVU Mothers’ retreat just a few weeks ago. She asked us, “if you had a friend that was always making you feel bad about yourself, reminding you that your’e not good enough, not pretty enough, not organized enough, that you’re family is not perfect enough … wouldn’t you get away from them? Would you carry them around with you in your pocket all the time? Why do we stay on social media when we start feeling this way? Why don’t we just take a break?”

What about you? How do you feel about social media? How do you think social media affects your kids? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

Related Links:

Tick Tock Goes the Social Media Clock: Finding Balance Between Social Media & Family Time

Image: Russell M. Nelson and his wife (from KSL.com)

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