Surgeon General recommends warning label on social media for youth

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has called for a mandatory warning label on social media platforms to inform users, especially teenagers, about the mental health risks associated with excessive use of these platforms. In an opinion article for The New York Times, Murthy emphasized the need for a surgeon general's warning similar to those found on tobacco and alcohol products, stating that social media has contributed to the mental health crisis among young people.

Citing research that shows a significant increase in rates of teenage depression, particularly among girls, Murthy highlighted the negative impact of spending extended periods of time on social media. Adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media have twice the risk of anxiety and depression, with the average teen spending nearly 5 hours a day on such platforms. Additionally, almost half of teens report feeling worse about their bodies due to social media.

Murthy also called on Congress to pass legislation to protect young people from online abuse, exposure to harmful content, and data collection by social media companies. He stressed the importance of transparency and accountability in ensuring the safety of users, particularly children and teenagers.

In addition to regulation at the government level, Murthy emphasized the role of parents in safeguarding their children's well-being by limiting social media use, especially before middle school, and avoiding phones at meals and social gatherings. He also suggested that schools keep classrooms free of phones to minimize distractions.

Overall, Murthy's proposal for a warning label on social media platforms and his call for stricter regulations and parental involvement reflect a balanced approach to addressing the mental health risks associated with excessive social media use among teenagers.


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