CyberSafe: The mental health effect phones have on teens could be deadly

Cyber Safe

Recent medical studies have said cell phones and digital devices can be addictive especially with children. When you factor in social media, you have a potential crisis.

That’s why one Colorado school is being proactive in trying to curb the activity.

Canyon City Middle School invited Collin Kartchner of Utah to speak at their school on Wednesday. He’s been traveling the nation for the last 10 months trying to save kids from social media.  

You could say, he’s fighting Instagram with Instagram. His movement, #savethekids started after his friend’s daughter took her life. The teen’s mother said social media was to blame.  

“When I asked other people on social media if they knew of anyone else experiencing problems like this from social media, I was overwhelmed with dozens or hundreds of messages,” Kartchner said. 

Since then, he’s been giving two to five presentations a day across the United States. He targets middle school children, those likely to have a phone. He spoke three times in Canyon City.

“When I leave these presentations, I get messages from the kids telling me, ‘I’ve never told anyone about this, I’ve been struggling for years. I’ve attempted on my life three times or I was suicidal,'” explained Kartchner.

Social media and smartphones can be used for so much good, but sadly they are tearing at the fabric of our society and our homes. He’s trying to change that, one Instagram follower at a time. 

“I started to digging into the numbers, I saw since 2010, it’s causing a lot of issues that lead to suicide” Kartchner said. “Doctors and experts have told me depression in younger people is on the rise and social media shares the blame.”

Kartchner says he’s not just educating students, but their parents too.

“Our kids are in crisis,” he said. “If you could imagine being 13 again the also having Instagram and Snapchat, it’s panic-inducing for a parent to even think about that.”

Kartchner is advocating deleting all of your social media apps.

“So I’m not the guy saying get rid of your phones get rid of social media,” Kartchner said. “I know they can be used for good. Like fundraising, getting your brand out there for scholarships and uplift and serve others.” 

Kartchner suggests parents think twice before giving them a cell phone. He suggests parents monitor them at all times since the world is at their fingertips.

Kartchner says his presentations like Wednesday in Canyon City produce instant results. “I’ve had some of these kids tell me, I was following 1200 accounts that all made me feel miserable. Then I left your assembly and now I only follow 30. Now I turn on my phone if it only makes me happy .”

You can see where Collin Kartchner will be speaking or request an appearance as well as other social media advice at savethekids.us. He’s also on Instagram @collingkartchner.

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