Act Now to Hold Tech Leaders Accountable

Written by PTC | Published May 10, 2024

May is Mental Health Awareness month. But given what we now know about adolescent mental health, maybe we should also be thinking of it as Social Media Awareness month.

Because children and teens in America today are reporting unprecedented struggles with anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation – and this mental health crisis corresponds with widespread adoption of social media and smartphones among young people.

If you were to overlay a chart that tracks teen social media use with a chart that tracks teen anxiety, depression and suicide, you would see lines that practically overlap.

According to a 2022 Pew Research Center survey of American teenagers ages 13-17, 97% say they use the internet daily; and nearly half say they use the internet “almost constantly.”

There’s a reason nearly a quarter of teens are online “almost constantly.”

Social Media algorithms are designed to keep people locked on the site or platform by tracking what kind of content the user engages with, and feeding the user more of that content. These algorithms make social media addictive – and dangerous – especially for young people.

One expert said social media companies “build features into their apps that manipulate our brain chemistry. These tricks are borrowed straight from casinos and slot machines, which are widely considered to be some of the most addictive machines ever invented.”

Compulsive use of social media may also trigger increased anxiety and depression symptoms in teen users. According to Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and author of iGen, “There is a substantial link to depression, and that link tends to be stronger among girls… The more time the teen, particularly a teen girl, spends using social media, the more likely it is that she will be depressed.”

So, what needs to be done? What can be done? Our children are literally dying because of the harmful influences they are consuming on screens that is being marketed to them by entertainment and technology companies.

To start, we need Congress and other government entities to hold entertainment and tech companies to account by supporting solutions like the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA) and the Children and Teens’ Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA 2.0).

You can take action now by signing the petition to move the House version of KOSA to markup.

After you do that, forward this email to any friends, relatives, neighbors or colleagues who share your concerns about the dangers facing children and teens online.

I’d also like to ask you to make a donation to support our ongoing efforts to educate and empower parents; to advocate for children and families; and to hold media and tech companies accountable. Your generous gift today will go far in ensuring this important work can continue.

And finally, if you have any stories you would like to share with other families about how technology has impacted your family or loved ones, I’d like to invite you to send them to We will protect your privacy by not divulging any personal information.

You can help ensure a better future for our children, grandchildren and future generations. Please act now.

Take Action. Stay Informed.