Surgeon General Issues Youth Social Media Health Advisory

Warns of building data pointing to a negative impact on mental health.

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy recently released a health advisory cautioning the nation on the impact social media has on youth mental health. 

“The most common question parents ask me is, ‘is social media safe for my kids’,” the surgeon general stated. “The answer is that we don’t have enough evidence to say it’s safe, and in fact, there is growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people’s mental health.”

Not all of the impacts of social media use are negative; surveys conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have found that more than half of American youth experience certain positives from social media use, such as feelings of acceptance, creative expression, and connectedness with their friends. 

However, surveys have also found that Americans aged 13-17 spend on average 3.5 hours per day on social media, half of which say makes them feel worse about themselves and their lives. Teen girls are also more likely to be negatively impacted, with one-third of American teen girls reporting that they feel “addicted” to social media. 

More research will be required to explore the full impacts of youth social media use, but Surgeon General Murthy outlined steps that policymakers, technology companies, parents, and teens can take as the research keeps unfolding. “We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis – one that we must urgently address,” Surgeon General Murthy concluded.

As the Lord Leads, Pray with Us…

  • For the surgeon general as he shares and promotes information to the American public.
  • For parents of teens, particularly girls, who are vulnerable to the downsides of social media.

Sources: Department of Health and Human Services


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