Social Media is a Serious Risk to Children’s Mental Health According to US Surgeon General

The general consensus on the use of social media by children is that it can have a harmful impact on their mental health, but in spite of the fact that this is the case, calls to action have only started being made recently. The latest condemnation of social media and the impact it has on minors came from the US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who said that it simply can’t be considered safe.

More specifically, Murthy called for more research to be done on social media because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up revealing how it affects children. Around 95% of kids between the ages of thirteen and seventeen currently use social media in the US, and 40% reportedly use it on a constant basis.

There are certain rules that restrict young kids from setting up accounts on these platforms, but in spite of the fact that this is the case, many children are able to circumvent them quite easily. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that 40% of children between the ages of eight and twelve reportedly use social media, so these rules are clearly not having the desired effect.

The rise in social media use among children has coincided with a 30% uptick in adolescents and children who are experiencing some form of depression or anxiety. Social media is clearly making it harder for children to adopt a positive mindset than might have been the case otherwise, and the Surgeon General’s 25 page advisory comments on much of this.

Facebook has already been exposed by a whistleblower for actively targeting children under 13, despite them being unable to use the platform based on its own rules. This seems to suggest that Facebook and other platforms like it are not serious about keeping children away, but rather they only put these rules in place as stopgap measures. The eager targeting of young children is an obvious indication that Facebook is willing to let kids circumvent minimum age rules for accounts.

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