In a critical move, U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has issued a stark warning about the impact of social media on the mental health of the nation’s youth.
With up to 95% of young people aged 13-17 using social media, the advisory shines a spotlight on the potentially harmful effects. Dr. Murthy’s message is clear: we are in the midst of a national youth mental health crisis, and social media is a significant contributing factor.
Research shows that adolescents who spend more than three hours per day on social media face double the risk of experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Additionally, specialist assert social media can perpetuate body dissatisfaction, disordered eating behaviors, social comparison, and low self-esteem, especially among adolescent girls. This crisis calls for urgent action from all stakeholders.
The Surgeon General’s Advisory offers a roadmap for action that call for policymakers to strengthen safety standards, protect children’s privacy, support digital and media literacy, and fund further research.
It further recommends technology companies transparently assess the impact of their products on children, prioritize safety and health in design decisions, and improve response systems for complaints.
It calls for parents and caregivers to establish tech-free zones, educate kids about responsible online behavior, and report problematic content.
It encourages children and adolescents to adopt healthy practices such as limiting screen time and reaching out for help when needed.
Finally, it stresses the need for researchers to prioritize social media and youth mental health research to establish best practices.
The advisory echoes Dr. Murthy’s ongoing efforts to transform mental health care in the United States. The full Surgeon General’s Advisory is accessible here.
Asante-Ra is a versatile writer committed to delivering informative and engaging content. They are a voracious media consumer, and lifelong learner passionate about science, health, gender diversity, accessibility, racial equity, and civic participation. They have a broad range of interests including society, culture, popular education, history, human sexuality, romance, comedy, poetry, and exploring topics such as indigeneity, world religions, mythology, astrology, and Blackness.
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Source: Black Voice News