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RELEASE: Robbins Holds Conversations on Social Media's Impact on Youth

Thursday, October 19, 2023

ST. PAUL – Rep. Kristin Robbins (R-Maple Grove) is hosting two conversations with parents and students this fall on the impacts of social media on youth mental health and education. The meetings will be held on:

Monday, October 23 at 7pm at Orono High School Activities Center, rooms 28/29.

Wednesday, November 1 at 7pm at Maple Grove Government Center – Emergency Operation Room (lower level).

Rep. Robbins has been concerned about the impact of social media on kids’ mental health for years and has been working on a bipartisan bill to address this issue. The Stop Online Targeting Against (SOTA) Kids Act (HF 1503) would bar social media companies from targeting Minnesota kids under 18 with unsolicited content. Kids would still be able to have accounts and like or follow whoever they want, but social media companies would no longer be able to barrage them with additional unsolicited content based on alogorithmic recommendations from their age, location, likes/follows, etc.

“Big Tech is intentionally trying to keep our kids online as long as possible to maximize their ad revenue,” said Robbins. “Research increasingly shows that the longer kids are online, the more they struggle with anxiety, depression, addiction and the ability to focus. Allowing the industry to self-regulate has failed our kids and we cannot wait for the federal government to fix this.”

"If you want to learn more about the research, have a conversation about how social media impacts youth mental health, and find out about state and national resources that can help students and parents navigate the virtual world, please join me for one these community meetings!"

These disturbing trends are not just pandemic-related. Last March, the CDC announced that 30% of American teen girls considered attempting suicide in 2021, up 19% since 2011. 57% of girls experienced persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness in 2021, up 21% since 2011. Between 2009-2019, CDC data shows that self-harm among young girls doubled for older teens, but quadrupled for girls aged 10-14.

In May, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health which concluded “there is growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people’s mental health.”

Members of the public can contact with any questions.

Informational graphic on Robbins social media meetings