Updated: Oct 27, 2020
How one idea, one city, and three students came together to fix a worldwide crisis. The LOG OFF Birth story is told from the inventor's perspective.
The summers in Birmingham, Alabama are infamous. One step outside of your air conditioned haven results in a steady suffocation by the humidity present and the sizzling sensation of the sun's radiation on your skin. Two years ago, on one of those scorching summer days, I gained more than an insanely painful sunburn; I gained clarity about me and my friends' social media addiction.
For months prior to that day, my social media usage had steadily increased. I found myself scrolling through Instagram and Snapchat for over two hours each day. The more I scrolled, the more I attached my self worth to the number of likes, comments, and re-snaps I received. I am someone who prides myself on my intellectual curiosity and passion for historical inquiry; therefore, I was disgusted by my inability to withdraw myself from social media. My attitude reflected my deteriorating mental health. I could not identify the source of the corrosion until that summer day.
Like any other rising high school sophomore, I was still trying to discover all of my passions. In an attempt to fast track any discovery, I applied and was accepted into my high school's Miree Ethical Leadership Center. The center is dedicated to fostering leadership skills by requiring participants to utilize their passions to create a project that will help the community in some way. I picked apart my brain, and could not find any passion project of substance to begin work on. I was undeniably stuck, until my phone rang. My idea swirled in the air with the vibrations of my Instagram alert and produced a project about an issue that I was passionately invested in solving. The urgency to which I looked at the alert triggered a long awaited epiphany: I was a social media addict. Not only was it monopolizing my time, but it was destroying my mental wellbeing.
As if a passion deep within me had be unleashed, I began furiously writing down the issue at hand. I knew I could not be the only one left with feelings of isolation and anxiety due to social media, yet I did know that nothing truly effective had been done to fix the issue.
A simple annoyance at the prevalence of phones at get togethers with friends had materialized into a full scale passion project dedicated to spreading awareness about the multifaceted nature of social media. I pitched the idea to the President of the Miree Ethical Leadership Program, and she instantly gave it the green light.
Although the idea of the movement initially resided in my brain, I knew the movement could make a huge impact in my community and surrounding ones with some help. Diversity is absolutely necessary for any intellectual inquiry. While I formulated the idea, I knew that the movement would benefit from perspectives and ideas other than my own. I gathered my two closest friends Hannah Ashraf and Maddie Thomas, and we discussed my idea for LOG OFF, and very quickly we began to lay the foundation for the movement.
After months and months of articulating our plan, writing informative articles, creating our mission, recording podcast episodes, formatting our website, and more, the idea, sparked by the heat and an iPhone vibration on an average summer day, became a reality.
We implore you to explore our website and join the movement!
Emma Lembke, Co-Founder