Gov. Cox warns of social media impact on teen mental health

Oct 17, 2022, 1:40 PM | Updated: May 15, 2023, 1:59 pm

HOLLADAY, Utah — Gov. Spencer Cox spoke with parents, teachers, and community leaders in Holladay Monday about the negative impact social media has had on the mental health of teens.

Cox mentioned how every generation has its “thing” that may impact kids in a negative way. Right now, that “thing”, he said is social media.

He said it is very different than other media sources we’ve seen in the past. As a result, it’s changing how adults and Utah youth think.

“I believe we’re wired for connection,” Cox said.

He pointed to national social media research that drives home how social media is changing the way kids think as it is an active, not passive, media platform.

As a result, he said social media is largely negatively impacting teen mental health, social and emotional connections as well as how youth view themselves. 

It’s not just a kid’s problem either.

He called on adults, families, and leaders to step up and take action.

He said we as a state can do so by monitoring our family’s social media usage, taking cell phones out of the classroom, and pushing lawmakers to set up laws with boundaries for families to decide when social media should come into play as families often know better than big tech what is good for them.

“Kids and adults are turning to social media for our connections. We don’t spend as much time with our families and churches and schools and community groups. We’ve become starved for this in-person connection”, Cox said.

Just like seatbelt laws and tobacco laws made a push to the forefront, Gov. Cox said they’re working and looking into potential legislation for social media usage among youth. For now, it starts with families. 


KSL 5 TV Live

Healthy Mind Matters

(Laura Warburton)...

Emma Benson

‘Because of Hannah’: Utah mom who lost daughter to suicide provides resources for others

Laura Warburton remembers her daughter, Hannah, as a warrior.

14 days ago

SafeUT app...

Logan Stefanich, 

SafeUT app sees ‘record-breaking’ use in 2023

The SafeUT app saw "record-breaking" utilization during 2023, program leaders and partners announced Tuesday.

1 month ago

Kelsey (left) and Wendy Fayle (right) holding up a NAMI sign. (Courtesy: Wendy Fayle)...

Candice Madsen, KSL TV

NAMI Utah offers free classes for parents and adolescents dealing with mental illness

NAMI is offering free classes for both parents and adolescents that are dealing with mental illness.

1 month ago

YCC text messages...

Alex Cabrero

YCC Family Crisis Center in Ogden now accepting text messages

It is certainly not the easiest job out there. Amber Paaso will be the first to tell you she's burned out of doing it in the past. 

2 months ago

Dexton Obray was only 14 years old when he took his life in Monroe, Utah in October 2022. Since his...

Aley Davis

7th grade football player spreads mental health awareness after losing teammate to suicide

A 12-year-old boy is working to raise awareness after his football teammate died by suicide in October 2022.

3 months ago

Aron and Joe Tuia'ana (KSL TV)...

Peter Rosen

Utah man’s mission began on an overpass

Men are four times more likely than women to die by suicide. For Joe Tuia'ana that’s more than a statistic.

3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

Gov. Cox warns of social media impact on teen mental health