Social networks could harm the mental health of young people, alert in the US

The Social media can profoundly damage mental health of young people, especially adolescent girls, the United States public health chief warned Tuesday in a statement, in which he called on technology companies to protect children who are in critical stages of their brain development.

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that while social media offers some benefits, there are “numerous indicators that social media may also harm the well-being of children.”

We are in the midst of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is a major driver of that crisis, a crisis that we urgently need to address,” Murthy said.

Social media use can cause and perpetuate body image problems, affect eating behaviors and sleep quality, and lead to social comparison and low self-esteem, especially among adolescent girls, according to the report, citing responses. from a survey conducted among adolescents.

Teens who spend more than three hours a day on social media are twice as likely to suffer from mental health problems, such as symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to the recommendation.

Tech companies should respect age limits to control access to social media platforms and be transparent about data about the impact of their products on children, the recommendation urges.

Algorithms and platform design should try to maximize the potential benefits of social media, rather than using features designed to get users to spend more time on them.

The first principle of healthcare is do no harm, and that’s the same standard we need to start applying to social media platforms,” ​​said Saul Levin, CEO of the American Psychiatric Association.

The report includes suggestions on what parents, technology companies, and kids and teens can do to avoid pitfalls and make the social media experience more positive.

With information from Reuters


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