Letter: Opinion writer misses mark on social media speaker

Editor,

I am writing in regards to the [opinion] that The Times-Independent published about Collin Kartchner and the school district missing the mark on social media assemblies.

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The [opinion] focuses on Kartchner’s message and that he only talked about the downsides of social media, failing to address social media’s positive side. However, this was not something that Kartchner failed to mention, and it was actually an integral part of his message.

Yes, Collin spoke about the adverse effects that social media can have on mental health, but he also gave many examples of ways people have used social media as a force for change. After the assemblies, many students shared that they planned to “unfollow” negative influences and rethink how much time they spend on social media. Not only were students talking about how they intended to limit the negative impact social media has on them, but more importantly, how inspired they were to use social media for good.

The [opinion] also included criticism about how the content was presented in Moab, stating, “…what he was talking about could’ve been presented to Moab in a different, more efficient manner.” What venue may have been more effective to reach the community? It is rare to have a nationally known speaker, who speaks at over 200 events a year, come to Moab. It is true that attendance to school/parent events is something that is a challenge in Moab and this may be related to larger community values.

The overall candor of the [opinion] was disheartening. It would be difficult to expect any single speaker to be able to reach every student and parent, and it is crucial to recognize that he did have an impact on numerous people. The main points of the presentation, as well as positive student feedback afterward, were ignored. It was a negative review without offering any constructive path forward.

As a local newspaper, this was an opportunity to report on critical issues facing our community and the school’s efforts to bring awareness to these issues. What was published was a simple critique that was off base and ill-informed.

I hope that The Times-Independent shifts its values to align itself less with sensationalized [opinions] and more closely to the pressing issues at hand in regards specifically to mental health, youth well-being, education and substance abuse.

— Stephanie Biron
Moab