Protecting Children from Harmful Social Media
How to protect children and teenagers from the harmful effects of social media
US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has called for stronger guidelines for social media use among children and teens, pointing to a growing body of research showing the platforms pose a “profound risk” to young people’s mental health. can be described as
In a report released on Tuesday, Murthy urged technology companies and lawmakers to take “urgent action” by formulating policies to protect youth from “addictive apps and excessive and inappropriate content” on platforms such as Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat. He said that the current guidelines on the use of social media are shaped by the media platform and are inadequate.
“We don’t have the luxury of waiting until our children and teens are fully informed about the effects of social media,” Murthy said in his 25-page article. consultant, “Their childhood and development is happening now.”
The surgeon general advises parents to create a “tech-free zone” for their children and model healthy relationships with their devices as more definitive research emerges about social media use. It also urged young people to avoid sharing deeply personal information online and to seek help from trusted adults if they are being harassed or bullied.
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According to the surgeon general, social media can also have positive effects, such as helping teens “develop social relationships” and create “spaces for self-expression.”
While research on the mental health effects of social media use is not conclusive, many parents have expressed concern about the effects of technology on teens. For example, nearly three-quarters of American parents of children under 18 think social media imaging tools and filters are harmful to young people’s body image, according to a national report. survey Powered by The Harris Poll.
His intuition cannot be wrong. In one study, adolescents and young adults who halved their social media consumption reported improvements in how they felt about their weight and general appearances. research Found published by the American Psychological Association.
Tips from the Surgeon General
Murthy offered other recommendations for What parents and carers can do To help protect young people.
- Create a family media plan: A family media plan can promote open family discussion and rules about media use and include topics such as balancing screen/online time, content limits, and not disclosing personal information.
- Create a tech-free zone: Restrict the use of electronics at least an hour before bedtime and throughout the night. Keep meal times and other in-person gatherings technology-free.
- Model responsible behavior: Parents can be a good parent by limiting their own use, being aware of social media habits (when and how parents share information or content about their child), and positive modeling. Can set examples. Behavior on your social media accounts.
- Empower kids: Have a conversation with kids about who they’re connecting with, their privacy settings, their online experiences and how they’re spending their time online.
Concern about young people’s use of social media and their overall health comes at a time when mental health issues on the rise in young women. More than half of teen girls – an all-time high – reported feeling “persistently sad or depressedOne 2021 survey Shown from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.