Fighting the monster from within is exactly what motivational speaker Collin Kartchner will do Feb. 13 in a presentation on the negative effects of social media and the internet, and how these resources can be used appropriately.
Hosted by the Grand County School District, three assemblies will be held, two during school hours – one for 5th-8th graders, and another for 9th-12th graders. A third meeting will take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. for community members. The presentations will take place in the Grand County High auditorium.
“If you’re a concerned parent, going to be a parent, you work with kids, or just want to learn, please come”, said Kartchner, who is well known for his #SavetheKids campaign, a non-profit he co-founded with “the goal of raising awareness about the harmful effects that social media can have on self-esteem and self-worth,” says Mallory Nassau, a spokesperson for the Grand County School District and community coordinator. Kartchner aims to teach kids how to properly use social media and the internet and give them the tools to avoid the harmful effects they can have on developing brains, mental health, and wellbeing.
Social media is a huge part of the younger generation’s world. “As a therapist here at the middle school, it seems like phone issues and people struggling to know how to communicate and regulate screen time is a big issue,” said Stephanie Biron.
In addition to regulating screen time, the dangers of the internet, and building effective communication skills, social media brings other worrying effects, such as depression, anxiety and even suicide.
Students and adults also face cyberbullying, negative body image, and unrealistic expectations in large part to what they see on social media. Suicide is ranked one of the top causes of death in Utah, according to a study done by the Daily Herald in 2018.
With so many dangers poisoning a common pastime, Kartchner offers helpful ways to handle these struggles.
“Many community members and businesses have donated to bring Kartchner here. “The events are part of Grand County School District’s efforts to address suicide and bullying prevention and provide community mental health education.” said Nassau. The committee in charge of organizing the event hopes to “give kids a different perspective to participate in the internet”, said Biron.
Crane, a senior at Grand County High School, is a student intern at The Times-Independent.