Social Media Hiatus: 5 Lessons Learned

Have these delivered to your inbox each week

Social Media Hiatus: 5 Lessons Learned

November 15, 2019
Green Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at

Gray Zone

Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at

Red Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at

Dangerous Social media challenges

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at

Table of Contents

One of our goals at Smart Social is to help students find a better balance between their lives online and offline. Josh Ochs recently had the pleasure of chatting, on the Smart Social podcast, with a woman who teaches students to explore the world and find empathy-- without the distraction of social media. Katherine Dayton is the Director and Owner of VISIONS Service Adventures and in this episode she talks about the benefits of taking a social media hiatus.

Her organization invites high school students on service trips around the US and abroad, where they engage in meaningful volunteer work and outdoor adventures. The trips are totally tech-free. Dayton witnesses the amazing impact logging off and taking a break can have on teens. We invited her to share some of her key takeaways in the following guest blog post on taking a social media break.

5 Lessons Learned from a Social Media Hiatus

By Katherine Dayton, Director and Owner of VISIONS Service Adventures

Report after report highlights the ways in which social media can negatively affect kids. Yet many teens harness the power of the web for social change, environmental activism and building positive networks. There is light and darkness in the realm of social media. One of the pressing issues is how to help the next generation develop healthy relationships with the technologies that so greatly impact their development and that inevitably will remain tethered to them for the rest of their lives.  

One way is to take a social media hiatus.

In my tenure of running tech-free summer service trips for teens, I have witnessed how a social media detox can empower kids and change them in positive ways. The reward is in the challenge. The average American teen spends more than seven hours a day on social media, so entirely removing that activity is a huge routine change. It can be daunting for a kid to unplug, but when they do, they exercise willpower, gain a sense of independence and become more fully present of their surroundings. Additionally, when kids return to social media, it’s usually with a new perspective and also a sense of purpose. Many of our students return from their tech-free programs to then use social networks for change-making and cause work. 

The benefits of a social media hiatus are clear, and here are five lessons for how to set the experience up for success. 

1. Give It Time

It can take just a couple days for kids to forget about their phones if they are a part of other activities, but it takes more time to have the tech detox result in changed long-term habits. Each passing day of not having a device gets easier, so prolong the experience as much as possible. Let imaginations flow to life outside of the screen while also giving the brain a chance to unhook from its tech-dependency. 

2. Pair With Other Changes

The summer programs I run involve travel and engaging with different cultures. It’s unique and stimulating, and easy to see that having teens take a break from social media is easier l when it coincides with a new experience or environment. Family vacations, cultural or religious events, and weekend camping trips are just a few other options for complementing a break from tech.  

3. Stay Busy

In the absence of social media, kids may need extra activities in order to take their minds off of the virtual events of their screens. Kids can use this extra time for hobbies, sports, arts, a job, face-to-face socializing, or my favorite option— community service. The hands-on nature of the projects, community-building and eye-opening experiences that come with service offer kids a sense of accomplishment, belonging and purpose that they may struggle to find elsewhere. 

4. Journal

What draws many to social media is the ability to document our lives. Removing the digital realm presents an opportunity to document in a slower-paced way and with a good ol’ fashioned journal. When kids write for themselves instead of for their online followers, the reflection is deeper and the growth is greater.

5. Join Them on a Social Media Hiatus

My final lesson is that teamwork is key. Of course, it’s easier to unplug if there aren’t other distracting screens nearby, but just as important— kids on a break from social media will still be looking for someone to interact with! Why not make it you? It may take some adjusting at first, but the creativity and shared conversation will come. Give yourself and your family a tech break and rediscover what’s out there beyond the screen.

What are your tricks to unplugging, and what have you gained from a social media hiatus?

Katherine Dayton is the Director and Owner of VISIONS Service Adventures, a tech-free, community service summer program for teens.

Share Your Thoughts With Our Team

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.
Become a free newsletter subscriber to get our social media suggestions in your email every Tuesday & Thursday.
Dotted arrow to right
Join the Smart Social weekly newsletter for FREE guides
Right arrow
Josh Ochs headshot Round
Host a Positive Social Media Zoom Training  For Your Organization

Our remote presentations (and website) teaches over a million students each year how to shine online. We teach students how their accounts can be used to create a portfolio of positive accomplishments that impress colleges and employers.

Request To Train Your Community
Right arrow
SmartSocial podcast logo
Join Our Smart Social Podcast each week on iTunes

With over 240 episodes, Josh Ochs interviews psychologists, therapists, counselors, teachers, and parents while showing you how to navigate social media to someday shine online.

Listen on:

Apple Podcasts
Google Podcasts

Parents: Do you know the specific dangers inside of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Fortnite, Minecraft, Roblox (and more)?

Support us (by becoming a VIP Member) to learn every danger you need to know...

The VIP membership is the leading parent-friendly and student-friendly video training program that shows students how to be positive (and productive) online. Our video courses (and live events) reduce frustration between parents and students and teach students to excel with a positive digital footprint.

Read More From Smart Social:

Read More Posts On Our Blog
Right arrow

Free Parent Night: 25+ Dangers On
TikTok,  Snapchat, Instagram, Fortnite, Netflix, YouTube & More (Multiple Dates).

Join Josh for a presentation that will teach you the hidden safety features of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix, Discord, Fortnite, Twitch & more! (Register Here)

Register For Our Free Parent Event
Right arrow
Parent Event: 25+ Dangers on TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Fornite, Netflix & YouTube by Josh Ochs