Social Media: The Silent Menace Affecting Youth Mental Health – An Urgent Call to Action from the U.S. Surgeon General

Conversation on Youth Mental Health in Social Media Hosted by U.S. Surgeon General

In a recent discussion in Lincoln, the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, addressed the negative impact of social media on young people across the country. Dr. Murthy highlighted the detrimental effects of excessive time spent on social media, including increased risk of anxiety and depression symptoms, negative body image, and reduced time for sleep and real-life interactions.

With kids spending an average of five hours a day on social media, Dr. Murthy emphasized the need for action to address these issues. In 2023, he issued an advisory on the impacts of social media on youth mental health, pointing out that up to 95% of kids aged 13 to 17 use social media, with one third using it constantly.

Dr. Dave Miers from Bryan Medical Center noted that the pressures from social media, such as seeking popularity through likes and influencer status, contribute to rising suicide rates among young people. Dr. Murthy stressed that addressing these challenges requires both young people and parents to take proactive measures to create a safer online environment for children.

Dr. Murthy criticized the lack of meaningful safeguards from federal legislators over the past 20 years in terms of data transparency, safety, and privacy standards on social media platforms. He suggested that parents can create tech-free zones at home and teach kids how to use social media responsibly to mitigate the negative effects of excessive time spent online.

Overall, the discussion highlighted the urgent need for action to address the impact of social media on youth mental health and emphasized the role of both parents and policymakers in creating a safer online environment for children.

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