Would you be willing to give up social media? Imagine doing it as a teenager. It's been one week since a group of high school students accepted NBC 7's challenge to log off social media.
Last Monday, Carlsbad High School students Tosh Carr (9th grade), Jasmina Pesakovic (11th grade), and Jj Measer (12th grade) deleted social media apps off their phones. They've been documenting their journeys ever since and checked in with NBC 7 for an update.
“I feel like it was a lot of work, but most of the time it was great,” Measer said.
"I'm proud of myself that I did it and I feel like I made a good time out of it," added Pesakovic
"I'm feeling good. It wasn’t that bad for me, to be honest," laughed Carr.
The students even made video confessionals throughout the week to document their experience.
“Pulled out my phone, clicked on exactly where TikTok used to be,” said Measer in one of his videos.
“I do notice myself putting my thumb right where Instagram used to be,” Carr shared in his first video update.
“It was definitely pretty hard. I’m pretty used to scrolling through TikTok,” Pesakovic explained to her camera.
The students agreed that the first day of the challenge was a learning curve, but they were feeling motivated to carry out productive days.
“Day two! No social media! I had a great day today!,” exclaimed Measer, while riding in a golf cart during his second video confessional.
Measer told NBC 7 that the more he kept busy, the easier his days would be without social media.
“I noticed that in-person interaction and just going to school has felt so much more rewarding now that I don’t have social media,” said Carr during one of his video updates. “At that point, I was just happy. ‘Life’s so awesome! Everything’s the best! Going to schools awesome. All Mr. Positive,'” joked Carr after watching his video confessionals back.
Measer said the challenge became more difficult as day four approached.
“This sucks. I’m bored” said Measer, as he recorded one of his updates.
“I just feel like the biggest challenge has been loss of interaction with people outside my close circle,” said Pesakovic.
“Sometimes I would feel like I’m on top of the world and then in the span of minutes, I’d be like, when is this going to be over?” Pesakovic said as she reflected on the week without social media.
NBC 7 reached out to Andrew Weinreich, who launched the first recognized social media network, SixDegrees, in 1997. He describes SixDegrees as an online rolodex. He said his intention was never to make social media addictive.
“We didn’t envision (that). Think about what that experience is. That experience is so destructive. We were mostly about access. I think the real question today is, is your social network doing more good than bad?” asked Weinreich. He also had a question for the students.
“What did you see on Instagram or Tiktok that stayed with you and why do you think that made you a richer person?”
“Looking back on it, everything’s been just noise,” said Measer.
“There’s so much stuff that you have to get through to find that informational and life-changing information,” explained Carr.
“It’s sort of just temporary enjoyment and then I move on to the next thing and never think about it again,” added Pesakovic.
Measer questioned current social media executives’ intentions in making platforms addictive today.
“Once people saw that they were very profitable, I think they (social media networks) were skewed and made to be pretty detrimental to people’s lives, not just the addictive part, but the self-image part and that’s what I’ve found throughout this week,” said Measer.
Carr said social media has many benefits to it, if used appropriately.
“You could find some really interesting stuff and I think it’s a great tool for spreading information, for causes and GoFundMe, anything like that, but it is hard to navigate because so often you can just get sucked in," he said.
The students all agreed that they’re hoping to make long-term changes after participating in the experiment.
“Right now I don’t want to reinstall any of the apps,” said Carr.
“After this interview I’m not reinstalling any apps and I’ll see how long that goes, because I really want to stay off them,” said Measer. “I used to think I was too far gone, and that I would never stop this addiction that I had, but all it takes is one week for your eyes to open up and see how hard social media is on your brain.”
“Absolutely no way am I getting back on TikTok, I feel like it was the biggest waste of my time,” said Pesakovic.
All of the students said they reached their goals in picking up new hobbies or old passions, like; drawing, gardening and knitting. They also said, once, and if, they do decide to reinstall social media, they plan to only use it for educational purposes and meaningful communication with others.