ST. PAUL (WJON News) - If you, or your family, has been harmed by social media addiction, the Minnesota Attorney General’s office would like to hear from you.

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The Minnesota Legislature has asked the A-G’s office to prepare a report about the effects of social media use, especially on kids.

Assistant Attorney General Bennett Hartz says the response so far has been eye-opening.

We have received just an outpouring of stories. What we're hearing are classic stories of addiction, and the people close to the addicts that have been hurt by it. People are describing to us their perceived inability to control their social media use at all, despite wanting to cut back on it or despite wanting to stop using it completely.

The report should be complete during next year’s legislative session. While the report is written for lawmakers, Hartz says the Attorney General’s office will use the data as well.

The goal of the report is to study the health effects of social media and other emerging technologies on people's health. The next goal is to talk about how other states and other legislative bodies have tried to deal with those negative health effects. And then the third goal is to propose what Minnesota might do.

An investigation into the negative effects of social media on people, especially children, is not a new idea. Several states and the Federal Government are looking into the problem and proposing solutions. However, Hartz says the solutions should be targeted at the social media platforms, not the exercise of free speech.

The form of social media, the form of the platform, the form of the app, is really what's causing the problem with addiction; it's not the content of the social media, but the form of it. These products are in a zero-sum race with each other for your attention. They're redesigning and retooling their platforms constantly to be specifically addictive in unique ways to each person who uses them. And the result is children who can't focus, who can't sleep, who stay up late into the night, who forego their studies, who forego speaking to their family, who forego any real social interaction at all, because they're so hooked on these platforms.

The individual stories will remain confidential. To share your story of social media, the effects on yourself or your family, or the tools you’ve used to control the effects, use the link here to submit your story.




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