Utah youth advocate Collin Kartchner dies at 40

Collin Kartchner. Photo Courtesy: GoFundMe

PLEASANT GROVE, Utah, Oct. 22, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Collin Kartchner, a Utahn who campaigned nationally to limit children’s exposure to social media, has died at the age of 40.

In 2017, Kartchner started a popular parody Instagram account simply to make fun of social media, according to his website.

“In April 2018, Collin started a campaign to #SavetheKids from social media and screen addiction’s negative affect on their mental and emotional health,” his website says. “His message has resonated with the masses, as he has since spoken to 500,000+ youth and adults across the country. He was even invited to speak at TEDxSaltLakeCity in 2018.”

The website adds: “Collin is on a crusade to help educate parents on the damage social media and 24/7 access to peer culture will have on their child’s mental health. His goal is to help teens rise above social media comparison, negativity, cyber bullying, and the stress of being perfect.”

His wife, Elizabeth Kartchner, confirmed his death on her Instagram account Wednesday, writing: “He peacefully passed away unexpectedly due to natural causes in his beautiful body that we are unclear of yet.”

Thursday morning, his wife posted on Instagram: “He lives on… in these beautiful children. He lives on in my heart! His love, fire and light are running through every part of their soul! To my sweet babies, he made you, he’s in you. He lives on.

“If he made an impression on your life, inspired you to change your direction to a clearer course even if it was hard, if he made you laugh, touched your heart. Help him live on in you.”

Utah’s First Lady, Jeanette Herbert, issued the following statement regarding the death of Kartchner:

“Our family was deeply saddened to hear of Collin’s death. He was an incredible advocate for our youth and was one of the favorite speakers at our Uplift Families Parent Conferences. He had an immense impact on many families — not only in Utah, but worldwide. Collin taught us to be present, to put down our devices, and to safeguard our children from social media. The entire Hebert family prays for Collin’s sweet wife, Elizabeth and their children. We know Collin’s legacy will live on through them, and through the countless families he inspired. The governor and I send our sincere condolences at this time.”

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes also issued a statement:

“Collin was a great partner and warrior in the fight to protect our children and youth. His energy, enthusiasm and incredible ability to positively impact young minds will be missed tremendously. Our deepest sympathies along with our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Pleasant Grove Councilmember Cyd LeMone posted on the Pleasant Grove Community Connection page Wednesday afternoon:

“Many of you know Collin Kartchner. He and his sweet family live in Pleasant Grove and you and your children have probably heard him speak in our local schools with his message of Saving the Kids from the negative effects of social media and becoming better parents as we focus on our children more than our phones.

“His message was powerful and it wasn’t just in our community, but across the nation that he spoke to students and families and changed lives.
“Collin passed away unexpectedly last night. As a councilmember, parent who heard Collin’s message and friend, I want to express how sad I am at his passing. Most importantly, my thoughts are with his loving family who were his biggest supporters. There will be a void that can’t be filled from the efforts he made to help our youth. He was trying to do good in the world. He did. ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world.’ He was that change. In honor of Collin, put your phone down and hug your family tonight.”

A GoFundMe page has also been set up by a family friend. That page says: “On Oct. 20, he suddenly passed away surrounded by his family. We are shattered, and he leaves behind his beautiful wife Elizabeth, their four amazing kids: Avery, Quincey, Lola and Myles (and their dogs Tuque and Winston Bishop, too). They were his world and he was theirs. The hole he left in our family will never be filled, and we know he touched hundreds of thousands of you, too.

“Collin had big dreams for this world, and his family, and we have been inundated with love and support, wondering what can be done to help. We’ve created this fundraiser to help ensure that his family can continue living a beautiful life. That although he might not be here to take them fishing, or to the beach, or sing them songs to help them fall asleep at night, we will be the hands to lift them up. We know we and his community will give back, since he gave us all so much.

“Collin encouraged Liz to go back to school to get her Master’s, and without a life insurance policy and their champion Collin, they are facing a lot of unknowns. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts, for any contributions. We ask for privacy for the family in this trying time.”


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