Agnesian HealthCare to sponsor social media talk

Shelly Haberman
Collin Kartchner

What started out as a parody Instagram account has now sparked a grassroots movement for Collin Kartchner to share a powerful message with more than 350,000 people so far - including  Nike, Adidas, the American Academy of Pediatrics and universities across the country. His mission is to increase awareness of how social media is damaging our kids. Kartchner’s momentous speaking schedule is booked 14 months out and it will take him to over half the United States - as well as international stops! This testifies to the impact of his message.

Kartchner and his wife, Liz, are the co-founders of the Save the Kids Foundation, with a message to challenge social media’s influence on teen mental health. The message empowers youth to make changes to their relationship with screens and social media. It encourages them to instead share more authenticity and eliminate accounts and follows that don’t make them happy.

“Our kids are in a public health crisis," Kartchner says. "Too many teens suffer silently from anxiety and depression stemming from 24/7 access to peer culture, social media comparison, and loss of real connection. If we can help unhook them from their phone addiction and live in real life, happiness and real meaning return."                           

This message to kids and parents is saving their lives. Everyday, Kartchner receives many messages with a story similar to this teen girl: "My mom dragged me into the car to make me go to your speech. When I heard all the things you talked about, it helped me realize a lot of things. Social media has had a huge negative impact on my life. Thank you for everything you said, and for saving my life.”

“It’s never too late," Kartchner emphasizes. "If we decide we can use social media for good, we can impact the world. I receive hundreds of messages every day from teens, telling me of the negative impact social media has on their mental health. When you tell them that they can break free from the toxic perfectionism, they clap; they cheer; they cry;  they hug me … because they are exhausted from trying to be perfect.”

Learning about social media and the impact it has on mental health isn't just for teens. Parents need to be aware of this epidemic, too. “If parents really knew what was going on with kids and their phones, what they see, what they have access to, and what people can say to them, they would be shocked,” according to Kartchner.

Kartchner is scheduled to speak at Goodrich Little Theater in Fond du Lac on Wednesday, October 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. The presentation is FREE and for everyone. Parents are encouraged to bring their kids. This event is sponsored by the Fond du Lac School District and Agnesian HealthCare, a member of SSM Health.

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