Mormon youth quit social media for seven days

FRANKFURT – Mormon youths in the European area quit social media for seven consecutive days.

News Release

They followed an invitation given by the prophet of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Russell M. Nelson. President Nelson invited all youth ages 12 to 18 to do a “seven-day social media fast” at a worldwide broadcast for the youths on June 3, 2018. Those who choose to participate gave up using social media accounts including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat during a seven-day period of their choosing.

 

The “seven-day break from fake” invitation is an effort to help Mormon youth “disengage from a constant reliance on social media.” President Nelson said while social media has some positive aspects, “it creates a false reality.” 

Emma Burnham, a 14-year-old American living near Frankfurt, said, “I think he did it to help us realize that there are more important things than… Instagram videos and how many likes we get on our new posts. Spending time with our families and learning about the gospel and serving others should be our priorities.”

Many youths of the Church, and even members of the Church who are over the age of eighteen, have taken on the challenge. 

“Seven days without social media was refreshing,” said Ana Grana, a 16-year-old from England with Spanish and Portuguese ancestry. “I realized how much more relaxing it is when you're not constantly on your phone, replying to people’s texts, and seeing what others are doing. I didn't know that that was stressing me out. It was really nice to have a break from that. It felt a lot shorter than seven days.” Grana also said she felt relaxed and had “more time for spiritual things.” Grana resides in Frankfurt.

According to an article by Eurostat entitled “Being young in Europe today – digital world,” 93% of all households had internet access in 2017. According to the same study, in 2016, 70 to 90 percent of youth aged 16 to 29 in the European Union use social networking sites while the whole population averages just above 50 percent.

Gideon Burnham, Emma Burnham’s 13-year-old brother, did the fast with his entire family. He said he felt he was able to learn more about his family members and their lives. “At first it was hard, but afterwards we started spending a lot more time as a family… It ended up being a lot more fun than we anticipated,” he said.

To teens considering taking on the challenge, Gideon Burnham said: “Do it. At first you might think it’s really hard and pointless but… it’s easier and you realize it impacts you in a very positive way.”

More than 3,600 posts on Instagram are using the hashtag #socialmediafast.

There are more than 500,000 members of the Church in Europe. Around 40,000 of those members reside in Germany.

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