The U.S. Surgeon General engages in discussion on social media and mental health among youth

In 2023, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued an advisory on the impacts of social media on youth mental health, noting that up to 95% of kids between 13 to 17 use social media, with a third of them using it constantly. Dr. Murthy highlighted the harmful impacts of social media on children, such as increased risk of anxiety and depression symptoms, negative body image, and reduced time for sleep and in-person interactions.

Dr. Dave Miers of Bryan Medical Center pointed out that suicide and attempted suicide rates are on the rise in kids due to the pressures they face from social media. The desire for instant popularity and the quest for likes and followers contribute to this issue.

Dr. Murthy emphasized that the challenge of addressing the negative impacts of social media is not one that kids or parents should face alone. He expressed frustration at the lack of meaningful safeguards implemented by federal legislators over the past 20 years and stressed the importance of data transparency, safety, and privacy standards. Parents can take action at home by establishing “tech-free zones” and teaching kids how to use social media responsibly.

It is evident that social media has a significant impact on youth mental health, and Dr. Murthy’s call to action for implementing safeguards and setting limitations is crucial in addressing this issue.

By Samantha Johnson

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