DRAPER, Utah – Some Utah teens are taking on the seven-day social media fast challenge put forth by LDS Church President Russell M. Nelson.
“My question tonight to every one of you between the ages of 12-18 is this, would you like to be a big part of the greatest challenge, the greatest cause and the greatest work on earth today?” asked Nelson.
Nelson held a worldwide devotional broadcast June 3 from the LDS Conference Center in Salt Lake City. He issued several challenges to the youth – including taking a social media fast for seven consecutive days. By doing so, Nelson says they’ll change themselves and help them change the world.
“Most of what appears in your social media feeds is distorted. If not, fake. So, give yourself a 7-day break from fake,” said Nelson.
LDS Seminary students from Corner Canyon High School accepted the challenge.
“Avoiding that will be a great way to get more in touch with the scriptures and the Spirit,” said student Grace Stubbs.
“I think if I get off of social media it will allow me to clear my mind. Just live in the moment more,” said Cody Shipman.
Hailey Bartholomew was at the conference center when President Nelson put forth the challenge. When she returned home, out of habit, she logged onto social media.
“I was actually seeing a bunch of my friends that were saying, I'm going on a seven-day fast. See you in seven days. Their example of that helped me decided to do it even more.”
President Nelson warned the youth that social media may create a false sense of reality.
“I find myself comparing myself to others and their lives,” said Shipman.
“You look at them physically and be like, I wanna have that hair, that body or different things and It kinda like puts yourself down in a way,” said Emmalee Hooker.
With less than 24 hours into the challenge, it hasn’t been easy. Especially if you don’t want to mess up your Snapchat streaks. That’s when you and a friend send snaps back and forth for several consecutive days and don’t want to break the streak.
“I have like a 550-day streak and I was like, 'I'm gonna lose that in a matter of 24 hours.' but it's gonna be worth it,” said Hooker.
LDS Church leaders hope teens can master the exercise in restraint.
“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 yourselves at spiritual risk,” said Pres. Nelson.
There are healthy and productive ways for teens to use social media. For a list of summer technology activities, click here.