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U.S. Surgeon General: Social media needs a warning label

U.S. Surgeon General: Social media needs a warning label

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy announced Monday that he believes. social media Platforms should come with warning labels, to help prevent young people from becoming relevant. Mental health Risks

“A Surgeon General's warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and teens that social media has not been proven safe,” Murthy wrote in a statement. The New York Times Opinion essay.

Tobacco products sold in the United States have long displayed the Surgeon General's warning label. Murthy said Research study have shown that warning labels can “increase awareness and change behavior.”

He also gave a reference. 2023 survey of 558 Latino parents As evidence that a warning label can be effective. When presented with a brief prompt about the dangers of social media for young people, three-quarters of respondents said they were more likely to take action, including limiting or monitoring their social media use.

This is not the first time Murthy has emphasized the potential harm of social media use by young people. A year ago, that Issued a 19-page advisory. which outlined how social media can expose children to violence, sexual and hateful content, disordered eating, bullying, and predatory and self-harming behaviours.

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Some critics think so. The focus on social media and youth mental health is 21st century. Moral panicCiting weak associations between poor mental health and certain types of online engagement

But Murthy argues that youth well-being may very well be linked to the amount of time young people spend online, and how such use affects their sense of self-esteem. He described the situation as an emergency. In these situations, you “don't have the luxury of waiting for perfect information,” Murthy wrote.

In addition to warning labels, Murthy said technology companies need to publicly share data about the health effects of their products and allow independent safety audits.

They likened such measures, among other recommendations, to a common response to past and present public health threats, including automobile, flight, and food safety.

“Why is it that we have failed to respond to the harms of social media when they are no less immediate or widespread than the harms caused by unsafe cars, planes or food?” Murthy wrote. “These harms are not a failure of willpower and parenting; they are the result of releasing powerful technology without adequate safeguards, transparency, or accountability.”

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