In a bipartisan move, Colorado Representatives Judy Amabile (D-Boulder) and Rose Pugliese (R-Colorado Springs) have officially introduced house bill HB24-1136 to the floor, focusing on the mental health challenges posed by social media on children and teenagers.
Jake Williams, CEO of Healthier Colorado, an advocacy group aiming to promote health and wellness for all Coloradans, spoke directly on the consequences of the issue: “Social media is bad for youth mental health. A majority of teens report feeling worse after using social media.”
The bill will mandate the Colorado Department of Education to create a resource bank on its website. This bank will offer educators, teens, and families user-friendly, evidence-based data on social media’s effects, featuring verified links. These links, selected for their reliability, will provide information on social media’s mental health impacts. A stakeholder group formed by the department will determine the suitable materials and curricula to be included.
Kyle Piccola of Healthier Colorado, emphasizing the bill’s educational thrust, stated, “The overarching theme is education and resources. We want to make sure people understand the impacts of social media and why it’s addictive.”
The bill will also bring mandatory in-app educational warnings on social media platforms into effect, designed to break addictive behavior patterns and foster healthier interactions with technology.
Regarding the bill’s enforceability, Piccola remarked, “Colorado already has existing mechanisms to enforce state laws. We didn’t feel it necessary to include anything above and beyond the current statute and practice.”
Piccola highlighted the bill’s strategy to interrupt the pervasive ‘doom scrolling’—the tendency to continuously peruse negative online content—which can be detrimental to mental health. “By disrupting that addiction and the doom scroll, we’re really hoping that we can start shifting that behavior,” Piccola stated.
A recent Healthier Colorado poll revealed strong bipartisan support among Coloradans for state intervention in regulating social media companies. This public backing reflects an acute awareness of the mental health crisis among youth, further substantiated by a U.S. Surgeon General’s report highlighting both the potential benefits and risks of social media, including heightened depression and anxiety among heavily engaged teens.
The bill also has bipartisan backing in the Senate, where it is being sponsored by state Sen. Lisa Cutter (D-Littleton) and state Sen. Jim Smallwood (R-Parker).