You’d have to pay me to stop browsing

Published 5:54 pm Friday, February 25, 2022

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How much money would someone have to pay you to keep off of social media?

Would $1,800 be enough?

I read a short news article this week about a mother in Minnesota who promised she’d pay her son $1,800 to stay off of social media until he turned 18. They made this agreement when he was 12 years old in 2016, and he finally got to claim his prize money this month.

The mother had heard about a parent doing something similar for her child, and she was worried about how engrossed her older children were with checking in on their social media feeds. So that’s why she decided to try this out with her youngest child.

Being only 12 years old at the time and not a big user of social media anyway, her son agreed. According to the article, now that his time off social media is over, he’s going to download Instagram and check that out. And he’s planning to use his $1,800 to buy stuff for his dorm room when he heads off to college later this year.

It’s a nice story to read about. And it got me thinking… how much money would I take to stay away from social media for years too?

I think many people (most of us, probably) has a love/hate relationship with social media. It has its upsides and downsides. I only have Facebook (which I use rarely) and Twitter (which I use daily).

Facebook is good sometimes if you want to check in with an old friend you never see anymore. You might think, ‘hey, how’s that person from college doing these days?’ and then you check their Facebook and see that they’re doing fine. Perhaps they’re even doing something interesting with their life, and you may think ‘good for them’ to yourself as you read their profile.

Facebook is bad sometimes when you scroll through and all you see are people extremely oversharing things that could have been better as a phone call, starting unnecessary drama that shouldn’t be public, and spreading rumors or other headscratchingly-wrong information. (That one is my personal least favorite thing about the website.) It’s really just a hodge-podge of whatever any day of the week.

Twitter, too, has its positive and negative experiences. For me, I like that I can easily keep up with news I’m interested in, ranging from North Carolina government updates and tipoff times for my favorite basketball team to new music releases from Japanese bands and when the next season of my favorite anime is scheduled to air. Many artists use the platform to showcase their art as well, which I enjoy whenever I stumble across those posts.

But on the other hand, some Twitter users are also prone to oversharing, starting drama, and spreading misinformation just like Facebook users. And, unlike Facebook, these tweets are usually coming from strangers instead of people you know in real life. Some days on Twitter, it feels like you’re just sitting on your front porch minding your business and a random person might walk by and shout an opinion at you. (More often than not, a really stupid opinion.)

Despite all this, I’m probably not quitting social media anytime soon. Since the advent of these websites years ago, they’ve become ingrained in many of our lives now. Simply put, they’re addicting. It only takes a few minutes to check in and see what’s happening on each website, and if you take a few weeks off for a break, you may come back to some sort of incomprehensible viral joke about cats going around that you missed.

“Fear of missing out,” right? That’s what I’ve heard it called.

But are we missing out on life while we’re catching up on all the latest gossip?

The answer to that question is different for everyone. Some people can’t put their phones down during the day, while others are fine if they just browse their social media once or twice before they go to bed. And kudos to the people out there who have chosen to forgo the stuff altogether, but for the rest of us, it’s all about finding the right balance.

But back to the question at hand: if someone offered you money to quit social media, would you do it?

How much would you need to break the habit of checking all your favorite websites? Would you give up the opportunity to keep up with old friends? Would you gladly jettison all the useless knowledge you pick up when scrolling through the feeds? Would we actually go back to talking on the phone more?? Do we all just crave some sort of digital platform now to dole out our thoughts and opinions?

I don’t know the answers to these questions any more than you do. It’s all hypothetical anyway.

But if anyone were to hypothetically offer me money to stay off social media… I think I’d like more than $1,800 please!

Holly Taylor is a Staff Writer for Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact her at or 252-332-7206.