Protect Colorado Youth from the Public Health Threats of Social Media

Healthier Colorado is asking for your advocacy to take action and help teens and parents navigate these multi-billion dollar social media companies.

It's no longer a question of whether social media is harming the health of Colorado kids. The research is clear: the longer youth spend on social media apps, it increases their chances of depression, anxiety, self-harm, and emotional distress.

Equally as alarming, social media platforms have been found to be so addictive that it's changing the brain structures of kids, like substance use and gambling, do. Healthier Colorado is asking you to take a moment to write to your legislator and encourage them to support HB24-1136, a bill that ensures the health and safety of teens ages 13-17 are protected from the negative mental health impacts and addictiveness of social media.

HB24-1136 will provide much-needed information and tools for teens and parents so that they can make informed choices about their social media use. It also will require social media companies to utilize in-app pop-up warnings, much like the warning labels used to reduce youth nicotine use, so let teens know when their social media use is becoming problematic.

Too many teens are falling victim to the addictive features of these platforms. Help us give Colorado teens and parents a fighting chance to make educated and healthy decisions about social media use. Write your legislator today and ask them to support this critical, innovative bill.
To whom it may concern: 

Teens are falling victim to the negative mental health impacts and addictiveness of social media platforms. HB24-1136 is a bipartisan, commonsense, health-focused policy that will ensure teens and parents have the information and tools they so desperately need to make informed decisions about their social media use.

According to a recent statewide poll conducted by Healthier Colorado, more than 8 out of 10 Coloradans believe social media is bad for youth mental health and do not think social media companies are doing enough to protect kids. This bill is rooted in evidence-based practices and is a reasonable step to educate youth, parents, and teachers about the potential harms of problematic social media use.

The majority of 8th and 10th graders spend more than 3.5 hours per day on social media, and a quarter of teens report spending more than five hours on these platforms. Research shows that social media addictiveness changes the brain structure of kids in the same way substance use and gambling addictions do. Furthermore, spending more than three hours a day on social media doubles the risk of mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and emotional distress. It's past time for Colorado to take meaningful steps to mitigate this ensuing public health threat.

Specifically, the bill will create a resource bank that will be housed in the Colorado Department of Education. The resource bank will be a one-stop shop for information, tools, and resources about social media. This will be open to the public and available for teens, parents, and teachers to use when they need it. When people have the information they need, they are best equipped to make decisions for themselves about safe and healthy social media use.

The bill will also alert teens within the apps when their social media use becomes problematic. Research funded by social media companies has proven that in-app disruptions are effective at getting kids off their screens. These alerts, or pop-up warnings, will provide data and research-backed information and resources. The alerts will be more frequent in the late evening and early morning hours to help kids make the decision to stop scrolling and go to bed. Sleep deprivation is a troubling trend affecting teens and is linked to late-night social media use.

Please support teens and parents by voting yes on HB24-1136. This bipartisan effort will help ensure both teens and parents do not have to navigate these complicated social media companies on their own. Give kids and parents the information they need and vote YES for HB24-1136.

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