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Want to stop mindlessly scrolling and start mindfully sharing? Try a social media fast.
It’s been a little over a month since President Russell M. Nelson challenged the youth to stay off of social media for one week. If you haven’t taken this challenge yet, no worries! You can decide when you’d like to complete your seven-day social media fast. As President Nelson said, “Choose seven consecutive days and go for it!” (Watch the Worldwide Devotional for Youth: Messages from President Russell M. Nelson and Sister Wendy W. Nelson.)
It can be tough to keep from checking notifications or scrolling your way through boredom. But many, many of you have already written comments or messages about how wonderful it’s been to take a break from social media. Here are just eight benefits of a social media fast!
- More time for the important things.
“I like [the social media fast] because I have more time to do things like play with my siblings or go outside with friends and pray and read the scriptures more. And I don’t spend time on useless things like social media because I have fun things to do and good things.” —Jayvan E., 12, Netherlands
- You can draw nearer to God and brighten your days.
“Following the words of the prophet is NEVER a mistake, and you will never regret it. … Participating in the social media fast helped me to draw nearer to God and brightened my days. … It can be so easy to get distracted by the world and to start comparing yourself, but I know that if we truly just focus on what the Lord and our Heavenly Father think about us then we will feel more joy in our lives. I am grateful to have a living prophet in my life!” —Erin J., 17, United States
- You’ll find better ways to cure boredom.
“I love the idea that this fast is a sign to the Lord that we are willing to take up arms and join the battalion. I thought the fast would be easy because I didn't think I used social media that much, but it was surprisingly hard! More than once I found myself bored and wanting to go on social media, and had to work hard not to. I realized I need to find something better to do when I’m bored, so I don’t just waste the time on unimportant things.” —Sariah T., 16, United States
- A distraction-free week.
“I had a great experience with the fast. I felt so detached from my phone. I started leaving it home when I went to the store with my mom. I felt so much happier without some little gadget following me around everywhere screaming at me to look at its screen. I felt free and closer to my family and my Heavenly Father. I loved having a distraction-free week.” (Read “Do Smart Things with Your Smartphone.”) —Kathryn C., 14, United States
- You’ll stop feeling left out and start feeling motivated.
“I’ve had issues with feeling left out because of social media, and it’s surprisingly simple to avoid that by deleting the apps. This has caused a change for the better in my life. Not only have I noticed that my phone battery lasts longer, but so does my spiritual battery. When I am unplugged from social media, it is easier to feel the Spirit and feel motivated to read the scriptures, serve, or work on personal progress. The temptation to waste time scrolling through Instagram is significantly harder to succumb to when you cut ties with it. To anyone struggling with social media addiction, I highly recommend taking on this challenge. You may be surprised by how easy it gets after a few days. After a week, I don’t even think I want it back!” —Glenda B., 16, United States
- A clear picture of how much time you actually spend on social media.
“I started doing the social media fast, and so far it has been an interesting experience. I didn’t realize how much I thought about and looked at social media. Taking a break has been a great way for me to focus on schoolwork and other activities like reading. I’m thankful that the prophet gave us this challenge. I think that by giving up something we use so much it can show the Lord that we are willing to do His will and to serve Him.” —Hattie S., 17, United States
- You might surprise yourself with what you can do.
“I was surprised at my ability to actually do it. It was hard. But I feel that it has definitely been worth it because I have been able to focus on more important things like family and service. It was a good thing for me to realize that I don’t need social media.” —Tobias H., 17, United States
- Less-depressed feelings.
“I’ve talked to many social media users who feel irrationally bitter or depressed when scrolling through their friends’ posts and pictures. Spending a little less time on social media is one way to avoid these feelings.” —Megan Gladwell, originally published in the January 2017 New Era
- You might not even miss it.
“I have been holding a fast from social media for about three weeks this month. I don’t even feel like getting onto any type of social media at all. What an amazing experience this was.” —Charles T., 18, United States
- You can show the Lord that you are ready to enlist!
“This social media fast can be just between you and the Lord. It will be your sign to Him that you are willing to step away from the world in order to enlist in His youth battalion.” —President Russell M. Nelson, “Hope of Israel”
Social media certainly has a positive side. We can use it to connect with and uplift others and even share the gospel, but letting social media take up almost all of your free (and not so free) time can be an easy trap to fall into. As President Nelson taught, taking a break from social media every now and then can help us break a constant reliance on social media. A social media fast can help you stop mindlessly scrolling and start mindfully using your social media pages with a purpose.
Share your experience
What benefits have you seen from your social media fast? Share your experience below.