Colorado governor says responsibility of social media restrictions ‘belongs with parents, not the government’

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) suggested in a Sunday interview he would not back state-imposed restrictions on children’s social media use, saying that responsibility, instead, should lie with the parents.

“I think the responsibility belongs with parents, not the government,” Polis said when asked in an interview on NBC News’s “Meet the Press” whether he would be open to more restrictions on social media in his state.

“I have a 12-year-old and a nine-year-old. We don’t allow them on social media yet. We’ll be having the conversation with our 12-year-old son soon, and in an appropriate way, allowing him to access that,” Polis said. “But I think really, fundamentally, the state can’t be the parents for kids.”

The interview, given jointly with Utah Gov. Spencer Cox (R), was part of an NBC special called “America’s Mental Health Crisis.” As respective chair and vice chair of the National Governors Association (NGA), Cox and Polis have launched a “Disagree Better” campaign, giving interviews and talks that stress the importance of civic unity and healthy debate.

Cox, unlike Polis, has taken a more aggressive approach in his state to combat the negative effects of social media. In the interview, he stressed the toxic consequences of social media and compared the state’s approach to dealing with the social media companies to the approach to dealing with the tobacco companies.

“I certainly agree with the diagnosis that Governor Cox did, and I have some sympathy for that approach. But I do think at the end of the day, the government can’t parent kids. It’s really up to the responsibility of parents to step up. And I think it’s, in many ways, an educational effort for outreach to parents,” Polis said.

“Many parents don’t understand the full threat of different social media for their kids. And I think more parents need to step up and take on that responsibility,” he added.