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The US highest authority on public health urges companies to implement safeguards that would protect the mental health of children and teenagers, as social media and internet usage continues to rise.
A recent report released by the US Office of the Surgeon General (OSG) found that 95% of teenagers, and even 40% of children aged 8-12, regularly use social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat.
The report also states that nearly one-third of teens admit to using screens, most commonly with social media, until midnight or later.
According to the OSG, the highest authority on matters of public health in the US, there isn’t enough evidence to determine if social media use is sufficiently safe for the developing brains of these children and adolescents.
“We’re in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I’m concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis – one that we must urgently address,” US Surgeon General, Vice Admiral Vivek H. Murthy said.
Although the report does admit to some positive benefits for kids who use social media, Murthy said there are “ample indicators that social media could also harm children’s well-being.”
Murthy advises technology companies to focus on algorithms and features designed to maximize the benefits of social media instead of features that entice young users to spend more time on the platforms.
Other suggestions would strengthen safety standards, such as creating age limits to control access to platforms, more transparency regarding data collection, and more controls to prevent easy access to inappropriate and harmful content.
This is especially true for children who are at critical stages of brain development, according to the nation’s top doctor.
As reported by Cyber News.