Gov. Spencer Cox addresses mental health problems caused by social media towards teenagers

Jan 10, 2023, 2:10 PM | Updated: May 15, 2023, 1:59 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Gov. Spencer Cox led a discussion on teens and tech at a Social Media and Youth Mental Health Symposium held at OC Tanner on Tuesday.

He drew insight from several experts, including educators, policymakers, and advocates.

Research shows kids who spend more time on digital media are experiencing more negative effects from it – such as depression and mental health problems.

Panelists took a closer look at some of these contributing factors, discussed ways to protect youth, and explored the role of parents, educators, and lawmakers.

Brad Wilcox, a professor at the University of Virginia and Director of the National Marriage Project, said data shows girls are suffering more emotionally and psychologically than boys.

For example, there have been tremendous spikes with girls experiencing depression, suicide, and self-harm, according to Wilcox. In 2010, it was 12%. Now that number has doubled to 24%.

Cox said we can no longer do nothing and only hope the problem will disappear.

“You see kids going into college less prepared than ever before, and not just that, but it’s the polarization that is happening in our country, the divisiveness that we’re seeing that is exacerbated by these platforms, and so it’s going to continue to get worse, and that’s my biggest fear,” Cox said at the conference.

So, what can parents do?

In research conducted by Wilcox titled “Teens and Tech (Oct. 2022)”, they recommend;

  • Keep electronic devices out of children’s bedrooms after bedtime.
  • Don’t allow children 12 and under to have social media accounts; 16 or even 18 is a more appropriate age.
  • A good age for teens to have smartphones is around 16 to 18.
  • And limit the time your child spends on social media. No more than two to three hours a day is ideal.

Cox said a significant component of this is policies put forth by lawmakers that will help support parents and educators.

It’s something the panel will be discussing in more detail at the conference and providing a preview of what lawmakers will be looking at this upcoming legislative session.

KSL 5 TV Live


A local mutual aid grassroots organization, the Coconut Hut, has been providing those who are homel...

Brianna Chavez

Grassroots group aids those unsheltered during extreme heat

A local mutual aid grass roots organization, the Coconut Hut, has been providing those who are homeless with water, other items, and tools.

8 hours ago

A new report from the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute finds Utah's fertility rate is still dropping...

Emma Everett Johnson,

Utah fertility rates still on the decline, mirroring nationwide trends

Utah's fertility rate continues to decline, and it doesn't look like there will be a turnaround anytime soon.

2 days ago

Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the ...

Jen Christensen, CNN

FDA sign-off on menthol e-cigarettes ‘flies in the face of public health,’ anti-tobacco groups say

Four menthol vaping products were authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration on Friday, the first non-tobacco-flavored e-cigarette products to get the agency’s sign-off. The decision drew harsh criticism from pediatricians and anti-tobacco groups.

3 days ago

Researchers were able to locate a specific gene variant correlated with some people's weight gain, ...

Madeline Holcombe, CNN

Researchers have found a ‘clear genetic trigger for obesity’ that applies to some people

Obesity isn’t just a matter of food and exercise — it may be in your genetic code, according to new research.

3 days ago

Tom Nehring practicing his punches against a punching bag with another boxer....

Emma Benson and Michael Houck, KSL TV

‘This is medicine for me’: A Utah man is battling Parkinson’s with boxing

An interactive class is helping those effected by Parkinson’s disease by keeping them active with boxing.

4 days ago

Primary Children's Hospital announced it is opening a new behavioral health center in Taylorsville ...

Karah Brackin

Primary Children’s Hospital to open new behavioral health center in Taylorsville

Primary Children's Hospital announced it will open a new behavioral health center in Taylorsville in late 2025.

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Photo courtesy of Artists of Ballet West...

Ballet West

The rising demand for ballet tickets: why they’re harder to get

Ballet West’s box office is experiencing demand they’ve never seen before, leaving many interested patrons unable to secure tickets they want.

Electrician repairing ceiling fan with lamps indoors...

Lighting Design

Stay cool this summer with ceiling fans

When used correctly, ceiling fans help circulate cool and warm air. They can also help you save on utilities.

Side view at diverse group of children sitting in row at school classroom and using laptops...

PC Laptops

5 internet safety tips for kids

Read these tips about internet safety for kids so that your children can use this tool for learning and discovery in positive ways.

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why printer security should be top of mind for your business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light up your home with these top lighting trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for hassle-free computer repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Gov. Spencer Cox addresses mental health problems caused by social media towards teenagers