US top doctor warns of social risks for teens this summer

May 23, 2023, 5:27 PM | Updated: May 24, 2023, 7:39 am

SALT LAKE CITY — The U.S. Surgeon General warns parents about teenagers overusing social media during summer break.

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a 25-page advisory laying out the risks of social media for kids on Tuesday.

“I’m very concerned now that social media is an important factor that is driving this youth mental health crisis,” Murthy said in an MSNBC interview.

The advisory details studies linking social media too; depression and anxiety, poor sleep, online harassment and low self-esteem.

“This is a real point of concern here — when nearly half of kids are telling us that social media use makes them feel worse,” Murthy expressed.

Gov. Cox signs bill requiring parental approval for teens to join social media sites

The doctor is calling for more research into the impact of social media and is asking policymakers and tech companies to take action.

“This is pervasive. It is everywhere. That’s why it is so important that we support parents,” he said.

The White House is doing just that by mobilizing an interagency task force to identify current and emerging risks. The task force will also develop guidelines for tracking and preventing those risks.

Google is one of the tech companies that say they have developed tools to help parents — including the ability to set hard screen time limits.

“Over the last year, we’re seeing searches like how much screen time is too much for my kids or how do I keep my kids safe online increased by over 200%,” explained Megan Jones Bell, clinical director of Consumer and Mental Health for Google.

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US top doctor warns of social risks for teens this summer