Do you think you could go 25 days without social media? If yes, you could win money for taking a technological detox. All Home Connections created this challenge where people can take a break from social media and possibly get paid $2,500. The application process closes on October 25, so sign up now if you’re going to.
The Social Media Detox Challenge
“To encourage healthy use of social media, the team at All Home Connections will reward one lucky applicant with a $2,500 cash prize for pausing their social media use for 25 days,” the company explains on their website. “We’ll also ask the winner to set activity goals for their detox and use a mood tracker to reflect on the experience.”
In addition to the cash prize, the winner will receive a care package to aid them on their month-long detox goals. If you don’t win, you might want to stop up on these items anyway to help distract you from the online world. This swag bag includes:
- Insta-print camera
- Journal or planner
- Coloring book and pencils
- Board games
- Baking supplies
- Language-learning app
- The Adventure Challenge scratch-off book
- Mood tracker app
All Home Connections recommends those taking the challenge to create goals aside from staying off social media. These goals should be activities you are going to do in the time you usually spend scrolling through Instagram or spiraling on Reddit threads. Try new hobbies or return to old ones. For instance, you could take walks, learn new recipes, practice drawing, or video call friends.
The Four Steps of the Challenge
The challenge isn’t just about not going on social media. It’s about reflecting and breaking new habits to help you when you return online after a month. Therefore, those who enter will have to complete four steps according to All Home Connections’ website:
Step 1: Spend five days tracking your mood while using social media as you normally do. Post and scroll as much as you like.
Step 2: For 25 days, delete social media apps from your phone and tablet. And don’t go peeking your accounts on your computer or over a friend’s shoulder.
Step 3: For those 25 days, set goals and work on them on a regular basis. Continue to track your mood and activities on the provided app and task sheet.
Step 4: At the end of the month, explain how the detox affected you in a short write-up or video. Epiphanies are welcome but not required. You don’t need to have a groundbreaking realization about yourself and social media for this challenge to have been productive. A little insight goes a long way.
Remember, the deadline to apply is Monday, October 25, 2021, at 12 pm noon MT. To apply or to read more information about the challenge, click here.
Social Media and Mental Health
Many people live with smartphones as constant companions, keeping them virtually connected at all times. Social media is a powerful connector for individuals to meet and interact with. Its positive features include giving those with poor social skills or social anxiety a way to socialize and express themselves. It also helps those from marginalized groups connect. Social media gives a voice to people and helps them find support. Additionally, it could educate and become an outlet for creativity. 
Unfortunately, social media comes with many drawbacks. For one, it cannot replace real-world human connection. Ironically, spending too much time on social media could make someone feel more lonely and isolated, which exacerbates mental issues like depression and anxiety. Other negative effects of social media include feelings of inadequacy about one’s life or appearance. Even if you know pictures are heavily manipulated, they could still make you feel insecure about yourself. Plus, people tend to share their highlights, which could inspire envy and dissatisfaction in others.
There’s also the fear of missing out (FOMO). Social media could exacerbate feelings that others are having more fun or living better than you. Feeling like you’re missing out on key things could affect your self-esteem and cause anxiety. To make matters worse, FOMO makes you look through your phone even more often, creating a negative cycle. Plus, it could make you lose sleep, prioritize social media over face-to-face relationships, and risk scrolling while driving.
It’s important to note is what is driving your usage. These platforms are designed to be as addictive as possible; that’s how these free app companies make money. Therefore, these apps can create psychological cravings for the release of dopamine that comes with alike, similar to winning a slot machine, eating chocolate, or smoking a cigarette. Similar to any other addiction, a person could spend time on social media even when it becomes detrimental to other parts of their life.
Limiting Your Usage
Additionally, heavy social media use could be masking underlying issues, like stress, boredom, or depression. If you’re often bored, lonely, or feeling upset while you’re using, it could be your way of self-soothing or distracting yourself from unpleasant emotions. Instead, you should allow yourself to feel these emotions to find healthier ways to manage your moods.
Limiting your social media use could help you figure out if you were using it in an unhealthy way. Even if you don’t take a detox challenge, you could create other boundaries to limit your use, such as:
- Use an app to track how much time you spend on each platform
- Turn off your phone at certain times, like during dinner, playing your kids, while driving, or at work
- Don’t bring your phone to bed and charge it in another room
- Limit your frequent checks by setting a timer every 15 minutes, then 30 minutes, then an hour.
- Remove social media apps from your phone so you could only check them from a computer or tablet. 
- “Social media challenge asks users to quit social media for 25 days to earn $2,500.” KHOU. Jordan Highsmith. October 6, 2021
- “Would You “Like” a Break from Social Media—and $2,500?” Att Savings.
- “What to know about social media and mental health.” Medical News Today. Zia Sherrell. September 15, 2021
- “Social Media and Mental Health.” Help Guide. Lawrence Robinson and Melinda Smith, M.A. October 2021