EXCLUSIVE: Sarah Huckabee Sanders Calls On Govs To Save Kids From Mental Health Crisis Driven By Social Media

[Photo Credit: Office of Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders]

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Mary Lou Masters Contributor
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Republican Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is calling on governors to crack down on children’s social media usage that she argues has spurred mental health issues, the Daily Caller News Foundation first learned.

Sanders delivered 200 copies of Jonathan Haidt’s book, “The Anxious Generation,” to all governors on Tuesday, as well as members of the Arkansas state Legislature, according to her office. The book spells out four recommendations Sanders is planning on implementing — “no smartphones before high school,” “no social media before 16,” “phone-free schools” and “more outdoor play and childhood independence.” (RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders Demands Biden Administration Rescind Military Abortion Policy)

“Study after study shows that too much social media exposure leaves our kids anxious and depressed,” Sanders told the DCNF in an exclusive statement. “Suicide rates for young teens have tripled since 2007. Depression among teenagers is up 150%. 30% of teenage girls now seriously consider suicide. Arkansas was one of the first states to pass legislation protecting kids from dangerous and addictive social media. But we won’t stop there. It’s time to start a conversation and I will make this issue one of our next big priorities.”

Governors – Anxious Generat… by Daily Caller News Foundation

Sanders signed the Social Media Safety Act in April 2023, which requires parental consent for minors to use social media. Several other states have taken similar steps to make the internet safer for children, like Utah, which also required parental consent to use social media platforms. (RELATED: The Collapse Of Teen Mental Health — And Deadly Mass Shootings — Can Be Traced To One Single Trend)

For instance, Instagram’s algorithm recommends sexual content to adult users who largely follow teen and preteen accounts, The Wall Street Journal reported in November 2023. Facebook announced in September 2021 that it suspended work on a project geared toward creating “a version of Instagram for young people or kids where parents have transparency or control.”

The Republican executive sent accompanying letters to the governors and state lawmakers on Monday where she called on them to join her in making the book’s policy recommendations a priority.

“Big Tech companies got American kids addicted to their products by preying on adolescent insecurities and basic human psychology,” Sanders wrote in the letters. “The result is a public health crisis that’s devastating childhoods and destroying lives.”

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