US Surgeon General Urges Congress To Introduce Warning Labels For Social Media Apps

An American Surgeon General wants Congress to release warning labels for various social media apps. According to him, it should be similar to the warning signs that come with tobacco products.

Dr. Vivek Murthy says it’s about time the idea was implemented, considering how much danger and harm comes with these platforms online. He also mentioned how the signs would serve as stark reminders for parents whose adolescents are engaged in social media apps without knowing the dangers that such usage comes with.

The goal, according to him, is to enhance awareness and encourage users of the app to alter their behavior when engaging in these platforms online.

Furthermore, Murthy highlighted how there is a stark rise in mental health issues amongst the youth and it’s close to being considered as an emergency. The lead contributor in this regard happens to be these apps and they need to be held accountable for how much danger they can add to people’s lives.

The general went about discussing more on this front including how plenty of studies are present that speak about social media’s dangers and how they provide self-esteem issues to users who are not happy with the way they look on the outside.

Social media promotes unrealistic standards of beauty and many assume that what they see online is true so they start to feel bad about themselves. On average, studies claim that anyone spending three hours or more online is twice as liable to face issues of mental health including depression and anxiety.

The query linked to using social media impacting mental health is not something new. It’s been debated as a hot subject around the globe and so many studies speak about how it is so likely and how firms such as Meta were long aware of the dangers this comes with.

There is a certain school of thought that might disagree and feel the link between social media use and depression is exaggerated but that’s another story altogether.

Murthy feels this is not a query that should be debated. People’s lives and their health are at stake and he has previously warned how social media is a major risk to the health of many and advisories on this front need to be generated before it’s too late to better ward off risks.

He then went about delineating how he learned many lessons while becoming a doctor and that was how emergencies can arise at any given moment in time. And in such situations, you never have the luxury of access or time to attain perfect data.

All facts need to be assessed there and then and then it’s used for the sake of judgment so you can act swiftly.

Additionally, warning labels can better shield the youth from being brought down by harassment, exploitation, and other starting matters such as abuse where exposure to underage content could drastically impact lives.

He also set out more propositions including how it’s time algorithms were banned from rolling out recommendations to underage users and how more laws needed to spring up that ban apps from collecting kids’ data.

Last but not least, the American Surgeon General mentioned how keen he was to force social media firms from carrying out independent safety audits where data is shared on how they can impact health so both the public and scientists in the field could benefit.

While these apps claim they are the safest out there today, Americans deserve better, he concluded. He says that more evidence is needed and since no regulator is present to keep tabs on these apps and their whirlwind actions, we need to act now.

Image: DIW-Aigen

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