Opinion: District misses mark on social media assemblies

Julia Crane

We all know the world is full of danger, but a recent evil has risen from the depths to drag down the next generation without us even realizing the threat. Or at least that’s what Collin Kartchner, a motivational speaker, claims as he spoke in Moab last week. The danger he was referring to is social media and the effects it has on the youth of today.

It’s true that social media has many negative aspects, but what Kartchner forgot to add was social media’s positive side. Kartchner found himself famous due to Instagram, the very thing he claims is a snake.

“I always tell people [and] students that social media is a tool, it’s something you can use to help others, inspire others [and] yourself, or you can use it for bad or ruin your life. It’s all in how you use it,” said Kartchner in an email. He did not discuss this positive side during presentations he made in Moab earlier this month, but only focused on the evils and struggles social media brings.

What’s also interesting is that Kartchner uses the very thing he testifies against to further his program. His Instagram account has over 100,000 followers, a fact that gives him great pride. He has helped and maybe even saved kids, but are his methods sound?

The Grand County School District raised thousands of dollars from the community and local businesses to have Kartchner come to Moab to speak. They were hoping that this would help Moab with the struggles local youth experience, such as depression, anxiety and even suicide. But looking at Moab, and the dismal participation levels of all community members, is an assembly really the best way to reach us?

Being involved is not one of Moab’s strong suits, and the chances that many people attend an assembly are slim. Most students skipped the event, which is quite easy to do in Grand County. The funny thing is, most of the kids that ditched were probably the ones who most needed to hear Kartchner’s message.

The kids that didn’t attend are students who wouldn’t care about what he was talking about. Those who already care are the ones who attended. The ones that the school district was trying to influence likely weren’t even there.

It’s the same problem with adults. The parents that go to assemblies like that are parents and guardians that already care about what’s going on with their kids and have most likely already taken the steps to deal with the negative side of social media Kartchner railed against.

The biggest motivation Kartchner had on parents was to scare them. Why spend so much money on something that wouldn’t hit home?

It isn’t that Kartchner’s efforts aren’t worthy of some applause. He truly knows much about the subject and deals with many tough subjects. But what he was talking about could’ve been presented to Moab in a different, more efficient manner.

Crane, a senior at Grand County High School, is a student intern at The Times-Independent.