Gov. Cox launches new Harms of Social Media public awareness campaign

Educating and empowering parents to learn how social media may be harming children

In light of the increasing concerns about social media, Gov. Spencer Cox announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign urging parents to learn about the harms social media has on youth. 

The campaign is in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Families, Utah Department of Health and Human Services and Utah Department of Commerce, all focused on helping parents understand the harms of social media.

While social media has become an increasing presence in young people’s lives, it can never replace the real-world interaction that humans, especially adolescents, need. According to a recent survey, Utah parents report 76% of their children use social media in some capacity, 57% use it 7 days a week, and 53% use it 1-3 hours a day. Mental health issues among youth have also increased over the past two decades, which is strongly correlated with social media access and use. 

“Rates of depression, anxiety, loneliness, suicidal thoughts and behaviors have increased in recent years,” said Gov. Cox. “It’s undeniable that social media is harming our children’s mental and physical health, brain chemistry, self-esteem and more. Parents need to know about these dangers so they can best help their children and teens. We encourage all Utahns to consider less screen time and more human connection. Let’s disconnect to reconnect.”

According to research, 88% of Utah parents say social media has a detrimental impact on the mental health and well-being of children. Utah parents are concerned about their children’s mental health, body image, brain development and sleep patterns. In fact, 63% of Utah parents reported feeling very concerned about social media impacting their child’s mental health, especially in regard to feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, depression and suicide ideation. This public awareness campaign aims to educate parents about these concerns and ways they can take action.

Starting today, videos and other materials will launch across television, billboards and online, inviting parents and caregivers to learn more about the harms of social media at (English) or (Spanish).

Tips for parents:

  • Create a family media plan with expectations of how and when to use technology and social media.
  • Learn about social media platforms and how they work.
  • Have open and honest discussions with your child about the harms of social media and spending time online.
  • Model responsible online behavior for your child.
  • Reconsider allowing your child to have social media.
  • Make time to connect with your child device-free.
  • Create tech-free zones and find opportunities to connect in person with your child.