Saturday, December 2, 2023

TED Talk speaker coming to Williamsburg to discuss the impacts of social media on students

Cell phone users may one day be able to hop on 5G networks in Williamsburg.(WYDaily/Courtesy Pixabay user StockSnap)
(WYDaily file/Courtesy Pixabay)

As technology and smartphone use increases in school classroom, one Williamsburg woman wants to bring education to the area about potential side effects.

Sandra Magda, a mother of three students at Providence Classical School, has arranged for speaker Collin Kartchner from the Save the Kids campaign to come to Williamsburg for an interactive presentation on social media negativity.

Save the Kids is a campaign that began in 2018 when Kartchner decided to bring the negative effects of social media and screen-addiction to the forefront of public attention, according to the campaign’s website. 

“Our kids have been guinea pigs in a tech experiment gone horribly wrong,” according to his website.

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Since that time, Kartchner has raised more than $100,000 that he has given to various charities, as well as traveled across the country to spread his message and even was a featured TED Talk speaker.

Magda said she found Kartchner through a friend who had been following him on Instagram. She said she started looking through his information and message and realized, with three daughters under 14, what he was saying could have a profound impact.

But she didn’t want to just stop with that impact at her own family, so she reached out to Kartchner and booked him for a trip out to Williamsburg in October.

“People think we live in this little utopia, or perfect little bubble here,” she said. “But every time we turn around, something else is happening in the schools. It makes me wonder how many people are not monitoring their kids’ social media.”

She said monitoring her children’s screen time and social media practices has been a general foundation in her household. Her daughters don’t have Snapchat or Instagram, and while she and her husband have various social media platforms they try not to be on them too frequently.

Magda said there are a couple of reasons for that, but mainly she just wants to protect her children’s mental health.

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“We don’t want any of our daughters to have this false sense of reality or expectations of what they think they should look like,” she said. “There are kids that I see around who are constantly comparing themselves to so-and-so, and I think ‘Do you see them in real life? They don’t look like that.’”

One of the reasons Magda said she loves Providence Classical School: there is a strict policy that prevents students from using cellphones and social media in school. She said most of her children’s friends don’t have social media as a result and that in keeping that policy applicable at home, her children know they should not be on social media.

“You have to start somewhere, you have to draw a line in the sand and follow through with the rules,” she said.

She’s hoping by bringing a speaker like Kartchner to the community, there will be constructive conversations in the future about how to best tackle the use of phones and social media.

Kartchner discusses the relation of smartphone and screentime to rising rates in depression and suicide.

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He will be in Williamsburg on Oct. 3, however locations and times for the event are not yet set.

Magda said the event is not sponsored by WJCC, but she has been working with the district to get students and families involved.

Kartchner and Providence Classical School did not immediately respond for comment. 

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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