Collin Kartchner was an advocate and activist for children and youth. He used the hashtag #Savethekids to spread awareness of the harms of social media on children and youth. He crusaded to help educate parents on the damage social media and 24/7 access to peer culture will have on their child's mental and emotional health. He worked to help teens rise above social media comparison, negativity, cyber bullying, and the stress of being perfect. He spoke to thousands of youth and adults across the United States. He was a TEDx speaker in Salt Lake City in 2018 about the public health crisis of social media addiction. He said the way to save the kids is to first save yourself as a parent and reconnect with them.
According to his website, he started a popular parody Instagram account simply “to make fun of social media and the culture of toxic perfectionism it has created.” He transformed the account and used it to shed light on how social media is causing teen anxiety, depression, and suicide. He also crowd-funded for hurricane victims and children fighting cancer. In February 2018, he raised over $15,000 in less than 12 hours to put "You are Loved" and "You are Beautiful" billboards across Utah seen an estimated 1.18 million times.
He has been interviewed for newspapers and television.
In his piece for the Deseret News, Kartchner called social media a “public health crisis.”
- “As I travel all over the state and country speaking to middle school and high school kids about the negative effects of social media, one thing rings true: Giving our kids with underdeveloped brains untethered access to all social expression is like giving them a loaded gun with zero training. We are giving our children the keys to the family car at age 12 with no driver’s education, and then we sit back and wonder why they keep crashing and burning,” he wrote. “… It is time we rethink the technology we hand over to our children.”
“We credit him with awakening the ‘sleeping giant’ of parents worldwide to the perils of granting powerful technologies to young people too soon,” wrote Family Tech University, an organization that prepares children for using technology, in an Instagram tribute. “His wake up call will live on.”
Kartchner and his wife, Liz, have four children. He followed only two people on Instagram: his wife and President Russell M. Nelson. He was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
He passed away unexpectedly on October 20, 2020. He was 40 years old.