Surgeon general shares mental health advisory on social media use, advice for stakeholders

Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, MD, issued an advisory May 23 on the effect social media can have on youth mental health.

Because children's and adolescents' brains are still developing, excessive social media use can lead to negative mental health outcomes and interfere with important health behaviors like sleep and exercise, according to the news release.

Here are five recommendations for stakeholders as listed in the advisory:

  1. Policymakers should strengthen safety and access standards to protect children of all ages and their privacy and support digital media and literacy, in addition to research on the effects of social media.
  2. Technology companies should evaluate the effect their platforms have on their youth audience and implement design and development decisions that prioritize the safety, health and privacy of their users.
  3. Parents and caregivers should exemplify responsible online behavior and set household standards on social media use.
  4. Child and teen social media users should establish healthy practices for social media, including limited screen time and blocking unwanted content.
  5. Researchers should examine the effect of social media on youth mental health to support regulations and standards that can best support children's health.

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