Surgeon general cautions kids about social media.

Surgeon general cautions kids about social media.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, the US surgeon general, warned Tuesday of social media's mental health consequences on youth.

The research acknowledges social media's advantages but warns of "ample indicators" that it poses "a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents." 

Screentime, content, and users' strengths and weaknesses affect online adolescent welfare, according to the 19-page paper.

The advisory's headline is dire. The advise examines social media's effects on youngsters' body image, social well-being, and sleep habits, citing 100 studies, cautions, and polls. Dr. Murthy wants safer internet regulations and practices immediately. 

"Parents ask me, 'Is social media safe for my kids?'" "We don't have enough evidence to say it's safe, and there is growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people's mental health," Murthy added.

The recommendation notes that 95% of 13-17-year-olds are online and more than a third use social media "almost constantly." 

The recommendation also notes that social media usage is linked to sadness and anxiety and may have caused more than 300,000 additional instances of depression on U.S. college campuses. 

Nearly 40% of U.S. 8–12-year-olds use social media. One of America's top public health professionals examined these young brains' vulnerabilities, tying regular social media usage to probable brain changes in emotional impulse control, emotional learning, and social conduct.

It indicates that teenage social media usage may predict a reduction in life satisfaction for females 11–13 and boys 14–15. 

"Once on social media, it's easy for kids to get sucked in because their frontal lobe—the thinking part of their brain—is not fully developed," Dr. Jaclyn Halpern, a psychologist at Washington Behavioral Medicine Associates, told 60 Minutes in light of the recommendation.

 "Even when it hurts them, the content keeps them coming back." It touches their susceptible emotions." 

The surgeon general's recommendation states that "extreme, inappropriate, and harmful" information is freely available, and Dr. Murthy writes that "content can be spread through direct pushes, unwanted content exchanges, and algorithmic designs."

Screentime and social media use may contribute to eating disorders, stunted sleeping patterns, sexual exploitation, self-harm, acute depressive episodes, suicide, and ADHD. 

The advisory's final pages urge policymakers, tech companies, parents, users, and researchers to address this urgent health problem by implementing stricter safety standards for young users to protect them from harmful content, exploitative design, and data collection.  

Our kids and teens can't wait years to see how social media affects them. They're growing up." Dr. Murthy. "During a national youth mental health crisis, now is the time to act swiftly and decisively to protect children and adolescents from harm." 

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