U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy now wants to see immediate action taken when it comes to social media.
He says it’s because social media may pose a profound risk to the mental health of teens.
Murthy added that immediate action includes work from technology companies and lawmakers.
He says they can formulate policies to protect young people from addictive apps and extreme and inappropriate content on platforms such as Instagram, Tiktok and Snapchat.
If you’re a parent looking for ways to protect your child he recommends creating tech-free zones and modeling healthy relationships with your devices. Also, kids should refrain from sharing deeply personal information online.
And for kids, if you are being bullied or harassed reach out to a trusted adult for help.
Murthy says current guidelines on social media use have been shaped by media platforms and are inadequate.
While the research on the mental health impacts of social media usage isn’t conclusive, many parents are concerned about how technology is impacting their teens’ body image.
Drew Erspamer has a six and an eight-year-old. Not old enough to use social media, which is fine with him. He says the expectations kids have because of these platforms are concerning.
“The impact that cyberbullying can have on children, or just having a false sense of what is. That ideal lifestyle, and then if they don’t hit that mark they feel bad about themselves,” he said.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association, teens and young adults who halved their social media consumption reported improvements in how they felt about their weight and general appearance.
“I’m in their business. So I know what they’re doing. I have their passwords, I’m logging in I’m seeing what sites they’re on, what they’re looking up and what sites are on their page,” said parent Reshia Jones. Her kids are 16 and 11.
“Unless the parents step up and take some actions and start taking some phones, and monitor what their kids are doing, everything is gonna go the way it’s been going.”