DENVER – 9NEWS did a story on Offline October, the impact it is already having, and why more than 1300 people worldwide have pledged to the cause.
This article is written by Jane Mo of KUSA
Teenagers in Europe, Asia and America - including Colorado - are pledging to delete all social media apps on their phones for one month.
"Social media really shows the ingenuity and a false reality," Joe Roberts, a junior partaking in Offline October, said. "Everyone's posting their perfect pictures, posting their perfect lives and perfect stories...but in reality, everyone's lives aren't all that perfect."
A group of students in Littleton started a campaign called "Offline October." It's a pledge for students to give up social media accounts for the entire month, "in order to spend time with friends and family, appreciate those around me, get outside, and participate in community events," according to their website.
Students met up on the eve of October 1 to delete their apps together.
"It was weird because I've been on my phone so often," Chloe Schilling, a participant of Offline October said. "So it was nice. I hung out with my family all day (the first day of Offline October.)"
An average teenager in the U.S. spends nine hours consuming media, according to Common Sense Media.
"It's also...when you're hanging out with friends and you're supposed to be with your friends and one of your friends is sitting there snapchatting 50 people," Carly Spotts, a student in Littleton said. "Or when one of your friends is asking what their Instagram caption should be rather than laughing at whatever just happened."
The teenagers of Littleton want to go offline for three main reasons:
1. Suicide Prevention
"We believe that social media plays a negative role in teenagers lives and is a factor to depression and suicide. By removing social media for one month, morale and confidence will be boosted."
2. Peer-2-Peer Conversations
"Teenagers have lost the art of talking face to face with one another. By removing social media for October, students will choose to talk to one another face to face or over the phone instead of through social media applications."
3. Events and hangouts
"Students report that they feel as if their friends do not do as much outside of school together. We believe that if we take away social media, students will choose to spend time hanging with their friends instead of spending time on social media."
"Don't post a story. Live one."
It's the anthem and heartbeat for the teenagers left in the aftermath of tragedy in their community.
Roberts said the goal isn't to just be off social media for one month. He wants the average number teenagers spend on their phones to drastically go down over time.
There's already more than 1,300 pledges from students in 200 schools, in six countries.
Littleton Public Schools are promoting Offline October at all their schools.
"We know how powerful peer to peer connections can be," Nate Thompson, LPS Director said. "That's why this campaign is so exciting. We are so proud of these teenagers throughout our community who have come together to create positive change."
If you would like to participate or find out more information on Offline October, visit their website at: http://www.offlineoctober.com/