In a recent public advise, US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy stated that “there are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”
The report acknowledges that social media can have positive effects for younger users while also warning. That more research is necessary to fully understand its effects. Nevertheless, it urges the US to “urgently take action to create safe and healthy digital environments. That minimise harm and safeguard children’s and adolescents’ mental health. And well-being during critical stages of development.”
The analysis states that the US Surgeon General’s warnings, such as the one released today. They are an effort to draw attention to “a critical healthcare concern” and offer suggestions for how it can be resolved. Although Murthy’s suggestions are not mandatory, according to Axios. They can influence public opinion and give legislators. Also regulates the supporting data so they can start addressing a problem.
Global Momentum Builds for Safer Social Media as UK’s Online Safety Bill Inspires Action. In the past, the Surgeon General has referred to juvenile mental health as “the defining public health issue of our time,” according to NBC News. “Adolescents are not just smaller adults,” Murthy said in an interview. They are going through a different stage of growth. And a crucial stage of brain development.
The Advisory highlights several interconnected hazards that social media may be causing. It draws attention to “extreme, inappropriate, and harmful content”. It “continues to be easily and widely accessible by children and adolescents.” And it cites research indicating a connection between heavy social media use and depressive and anxious symptoms.
Finally, the report offers some recommendations on how to promote a healthier relationship with social media by, for example, reporting cyberbullying and online abuse or setting boundaries between online and offline activities, even though it notes that “the onus of mitigating the potential harms of social media should not be placed solely on the shoulders” of either parents and carers or children themselves.
In an interview with Axios, Murthy remarked, “What kids are experiencing today on social media is unlike anything prior generations have had to deal with.”
He told the New York Times, “We have to do what we do in other areas where we have product safety issues, which is to put in place safety standards that parents can rely on, that are genuinely enforced.
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