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President Russell M. Nelson challenged the youth to hold a seven-day fast from social media on June 3 at the youth devotional.

“I acknowledge that there are positives about social media,” President Nelson said at the youth devotional. “But if you are paying more attention to the 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.”

Kendall Mildenhall, a freshman majoring in general studies, took this counsel to fast from social media and noticed a difference in her attention span and priorities.

“I focus more in class because there is nothing else for me to do,” Mildenhall said. “I know I would text or go on Snapchat in class, but since I deleted the apps, I can’t do that anymore, so I’m more productive.”

According to The Clinical Advisor, social media has been linked to lower self-esteem, depression, risk-taking behavior and cyberbullying. Social media can be even worse for those who are already predisposed to mental illnesses like anxiety and depression.

Not only does social media complicate mental health, but it can deeply affect relationships and cause distrust, according to Psychology Today. Insecurity can develop in the relationship as one partner may continually monitor the other if he or she is friends with an ex or member of the opposite sex online.

That’s why Ariana Baxter, a senior studying elementary education, started the seven-day fast herself.

“Before I did this challenge, I would automatically scroll through Instagram while my baby was asleep,” Baxter said. “Since I started this challenge, I have been more aware and involved with my child and my husband. I have also been able to pay much more attention in my classes rather than impulsively scrolling through my phone.”

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