Governor Chris Sununu signs Executive Order 2023-04

CONCORD, NH — Yesterday Gov. Chris Sununu signed Executive Order 2023-04, an executive order mandating a statewide response to the impact of social media platforms on New Hampshire’s youth.

“I have met extensively with the Attorney General and we are actively conducting an investigation into the harmful effects that social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram can have on children’s mental health,” Gov. Chris Sununu said. “The children of New Hampshire are the future of our state and nation, and we are making every effort to ensure the necessary changes are made to prevent harm from these platforms.” New Hampshire will explore all options necessary to keep our children safe – including more time off screens and outdoors.”

The state began investigating the numerous harms caused to children by social media platforms in November 2021, and the executive order is based on the ongoing investigation.

“Extensive use of social media is associated with a significant risk of harm among adolescents. Indeed, the link between the development of major mental disorders in minors and the time spent on social media has received increased attention. “My office is actively considering how best to protect New Hampshire’s youth from the harm these platforms are causing and promoting,” Attorney General Formella said. “My top priority is to eliminate the harmful effects of social media on New Hampshire’s youth and to hold social media platforms accountable for their actions.”

Under the executive order, the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services are required to work together to create guidelines for a curriculum to be submitted to the State Board of Education for inclusion in all K-12 health education courses State explaining the possible negative effects of children’s use of social media platforms. These policies must be presented to the governor within 90 days of the signing of the executive order.

As part of the initiative, state agencies will also sponsor a new GoPlayNH initiative designed to encourage children and families to spend more time off screens and outdoors. The initiative will highlight the diverse recreational opportunities in the Granite State.

“Teaching our children how to engage with society in healthy and fulfilling ways is a core part of a holistic education that prepares the next generation for success in every respect,” said Frank Edelblut, Commissioner for Education. “I am grateful that Governor Sununu is taking action to address the societal impact of social media and look forward to hearing directly from parents and students so we can work side-by-side to support community needs.”

“As with any aspect of life, it is important for parents and children to understand the impact that social media use can have in order to develop personal strategies that allow for appropriate harm reduction,” said DHHS Commissioner Lori Weaver. “This executive order ensures we hear directly from parents and their children to provide the best resources for the health and safety of New Hampshire’s youth.”

More information will be released in the coming weeks about resources and tools that parents, teachers, school administrators and children can use to share their concerns and experiences.

NOTE: A copy of the Executive Order can be found here.