COLORADO SPRINGS — The City of Colorado Springs is kicking off a joint initiative to address negative social media behaviors in children teens. The “Challenge to Change” is aimed at shining a light on how social media impacts youth in negative ways.

“You as a parent have the most power over your children’s use of social media, and their abuse of social media,” said Mayor John Suthers. “There are a lot of valuable resources out there for parents. Find out what social media is about if you don’t use it yourself. Find out what your child is doing.”

Mayor Suthers, along with representatives from School Districts 2 and 11, Children’s Hospital Colorado and the Colorado Springs Police Department announced the citywide effort on Thursday.

Children’s Hospital Manager of Behavioral Health Thomas Caughlan says anxiety and depression can come from the pressures and over exposure to social media.

Mental health and school district leaders say cyberbullying, spreading rumors or negative comments online, even making threats through social media, is a growing problem in schools across the city.

The city, CSPD and school districts are encouraging parents to get involved and talk to their kids about social media and their impact on mental health.

To sign the challenge and download social media graphics or find educational resources, visit the campaign website at www.coloradosprings.gov/challenge. The city is also challenging everyone to a 7-day “social media break”.

The panel cited an increase in negative behaviors including cyberbullying, threats and “planned bullying,” or violent behavior pre-planned using social media as some of the issues plaguing schools citywide.