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

Social Media’s Dangerous Impact on Youth Mental Health: A Call to Action from U.S. Surgeon General

In a discussion in Lincoln, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, spoke about the impact of social media on youth across the country. He highlighted the harmful effects of excessive time on social media, such as increased risk of anxiety and depression symptoms, negative body image, and reduced time for sleep and real-life interactions.

Dr. Murthy emphasized that with kids spending an average of five hours a day on social media, it is crucial to take 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 kids. Dr. Murthy stressed that addressing these challenges requires both kids and parents to take proactive measures.

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.

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

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