Healthy Body

Surgeon General issues advisory linking social media and youth mental health

Vivek Murthy asked lawmakers, tech companies, researchers, families, and young people to take action

With nearly every person aged 13 to 17 now having a social media account, and growing evidence that these sites can have a negative effect on the mental health of young people, some states and institutions have started taking steps to combat the negative effects.

For example, earlier this year, Seattle Public Schools sued social media companies, including Meta, Facebook, Instagram, Alphabet, Google, YouTube, TikTok, and Snap, for creating “a youth mental health crisis,” including an increase in  anxiety, depression, thoughts of self-harm, and suicidal ideation. In April, Arkansas Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed legislation requiring minors to get their parents’ permission to create a new account.

Now, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is also making his voice heard as well, releasing a new Surgeon General’s Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental

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The Impact of Social Media on Youth Mental Health

Summary: The U.S. Surgeon General has issued an urgent advisory addressing the potential dangers of social media on the mental health of young people.

Despite the potential benefits, the advisory highlights the risks social media poses to children and adolescents, with nearly 95% of 13-17-year-olds reporting usage.

Acknowledging the ongoing youth mental health crisis, the Surgeon General calls for immediate action from policymakers, tech companies, researchers, and families to better understand and mitigate the effects of social media.

The advisory is a key part of President Biden’s strategy to transform mental health care in America.

Key Facts:

  1. Almost 95% of young people aged 13-17 report using social media, with over a third saying they use it “almost constantly.”
  2. There’s growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people’s mental health, with harmful content, sleep disruption, and reduced physical activity being highlighted as key issues.
  3. The
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