Governor Spencer Cox (R-Utah) claims that social media is “absolutely” contributing to the alarming rise in rates of loneliness, anxiety, and depression in the United States.
I have four children, so I think it’s clear to anyone who uses social media or is a parent. During an interview that aired on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Cox, the chair of the National Governors Association, stated, “I’ve seen what’s happened to them as they’ve spent time on social media and their friends, and this is absolutely causing these terrible increases, these hockey stick-like increases that we are seeing in anxiety, depression, and self-harm amongst our youth.”
A trade group representing Meta, TikTok, and X is currently suing Utah over laws passed earlier this year that would constrain when and how users under the age of 18 could access social media sites by requiring account verification. The bill is set to take effect in 2024, and proponents of the First Amendment have also claimed that it violates the right to free speech.
Cox told Kristen Welker of NBC that the reasons against Utah’s law do not impress him.
According to Cox, major tech companies are aware that their actions are harmful to children. “They’re trying to hide it. They’re going to great lengths to use our children for their personal benefit. And that is something we will not tolerate. Accordingly, we have not stopped moving ahead.
The Democratic governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, shared Cox’s view that social media is contributing to the national mental health epidemic. Though, according to Polis, parents should be the ones to regulate their children’s social media usage.
“I think the responsibility belongs with parents, not the government,” stated Polis, the vice chair of the NGA, during the joint interview with Cox.
I sympathise with Governor Cox’s stance and wholeheartedly agree with his diagnosis. However, he then clarified that, in his opinion, the government should not be responsible for raising children.