U.S. Surgeon General Warns Social Media Use May Damage Mental Health in Children, Adolescents

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy wrote in an advisory that there is “reason to be concerned” with the potential harm caused by social media on the minds of youth.

The advisory noted that up to 95% of those between the ages of 13-17 use social media, with some on a platform for an average of 3.5 hours a day.

“Children and adolescents on social media are commonly exposed to extreme, inappropriate, and harmful content, and those who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of poor mental health including experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety,” according to the advisory.

The advisory then described strategies to keep children safe, such as establishing tech-free zones within the home and developing technology that enforces age requirements when using a social media platform.

Reporting from The Washington Times:

Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders recently signed a bill that requires minors to get parental consent before setting up a social media account.

Starting in September, the platforms must contract with third-party vendors to verify the age of users and obtain parental consent if a person is younger than 18.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed similar legislation earlier this year. The measure will go into effect in March 2024.