Such as warnings about tobacco… An American official calls for warnings about the harmful effects of social networking sites on teenagers

Written By Mark

Yesterday, Monday, a senior US government health official called for warnings to be displayed on social media platforms to indicate their harm to the health of teenagers, similar to the warnings on tobacco packages.

In a New York Times article, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy described social media as an “important contributor” to the overall mental health crisis among young people.

“It is time to demand that the Surgeon General place a warning label on social media platforms that these media are associated with significant harm to adolescent mental health,” he wrote.

Murthy said that spending more than 3 hours a day on social media doubles the risk of anxiety and depression symptoms in teenagers, noting that the average daily use in the summer of 2023 was approximately 5 hours.

“The Surgeon General’s warning letter, which requires congressional action, will regularly remind parents and teens that social media has not been proven to be safe.”

“Evidence from tobacco studies shows that warning labels can raise awareness and change behavior,” he continued.

Murthy pointed to previous actions lawmakers have taken to address high vehicle-related fatalities, including mandates requiring the use of seat belts and airbags, and crash testing to make cars safer.

Labels warning about the health effects of tobacco first appeared on American cigarettes after a federal government mandate in 1965.

In 2023, Murthy issued a health warning stating that social media poses a “major risk” to children, advising that 13-year-olds are too young to join the apps.

Yesterday, Monday, the Surgeon General called on schools across the country to “ensure that phones are not used during classroom learning and social gatherings conducted by students.”

He also said that parents should wait until after middle school before allowing their children to access social media, calling for preventing children from using phones before bedtime, during mealtimes, and in social gatherings.