The US Surgeon General has warned that social media can hurt young people’s mental health, especially the mental health of teenage girls. In a piece of advice that came out on May 23, the Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, asked tech companies to take steps to protect children whose brains are still developing in important ways.
Even though Murthy agreed that there are some good things about social media, he stressed that there are “plenty of signs that social media could also hurt children’s well-being.” He was very worried about how social media was contributing to the mental health disaster among young people in the United States and stressed how important it was to fix this problem right away.
The advice talked about a few ways that using social media is bad for the mental health of young people. It said that social media can make teenage girls have problems with their body image, bad eating habits, trouble sleeping, comparing themselves to others, and low self-esteem.
These conclusions were based on the answers to a poll given to teens. The advice also said that if a teen spends more than three hours a day on social media, they are twice as likely to have problems with their mental health, such as sadness or worry.
But the advice also said that many teenagers find social media to be helpful. They said that social media helped them feel more accepted, supported during hard times, linked to their friends, and able to show their talent.
To address these worries, the advice asked lawmakers to tighten safety rules so that children of all ages can get more out of social media. It stressed the need to do something about how easy it is for young people to find incorrect and damaging material.
Tech companies were asked to put age limits on social media sites to control who can use them and to be honest about how their goods affect kids. Also, the advice said that algorithms and platform designs should focus on getting the most out of social media instead of making features that make people stay on it longer.
CEO of the British Psychiatric Association Saul Levin said that social media sites should be held to the same standard as healthcare, which is to “do no harm.” The study also had a number of tips for parents, tech companies, and young people on how to use social media more safely and in a way that helps people have good times.
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In the end, the US Surgeon General’s advice shows how social media can hurt young people’s mental health, especially the mental health of teenage girls. It asks tech companies, lawmakers, parents, and individuals to move quickly to protect the health and safety of young people in the digital age.