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Mental Health

Social Media Could Harm Youth Mental Health, U.S. Surgeon General Warns

According to the advisory, adolescents who spend more than three hours per day on social media face double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes, such as symptoms of depression and anxiety

Social Media Could Harm Youth Mental Health, U.S. Surgeon General Warns
U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that while social media offers some benefits, there are "ample indicators that social media could also harm children's well-being

New Delhi: Social media can profoundly harm the mental health of youth, particularly adolescent girls, the U.S. Surgeon General warned in an advisory on Tuesday (May 23), and he called for safeguards from tech companies for children who are at critical stages of brain development. U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said that while social media offers some benefits,

There are ample indicators that social media could also harm children’s well-being. We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis – one that we must urgently address

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

Adolescents who spend more than three hours per day on social media face double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes, such as symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to the advisory.

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Most adolescents say social media helps them feel more accepted, more supported during tough times, more connected to their friends, and more creative, the advisory also said.

It said policymakers should strengthen safety standards in ways that enhance those benefits for children of all ages, while noting that inappropriate and harmful content continues to be easily and widely accessible to children.

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

Algorithms and platform design should seek to maximize the potential benefits of social media instead of features designed to make users spend more time on them, it said. Saul Levin, CEO of the American Psychiatric Association said,

The first principle of healthcare is to do no harm – that’s the same standard we need to start holding social media platforms to

The report includes suggestions for what parents, tech companies, as well as children and adolescents, can do to avoid dangerous pitfalls and make the social media experience more positive. They include creation of a family media plan, encouraging of in-person friendships, talking to children about how they spend their time online, and encouraging them to seek help should they need it.

Also Read: ‘Yours Mindfully,’ An Organisation By-Youth And For-Youth Makes Mental Health Inclusive And Accessible Through Awareness

It included a reminder of the new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline,

If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

NDTV – Dettol have been working towards a clean and healthy India since 2014 via the Banega Swachh India initiative, which is helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. The campaign aims to highlight the inter-dependency of humans and the environment, and of humans on one another with the focus on One Health, One Planet, One Future – Leaving No One Behind. It stresses on the need to take care of, and consider, everyone’s health in India – especially vulnerable communities – the LGBTQ populationindigenous people, India’s different tribes, ethnic and linguistic minorities, people with disabilities, migrants, geographically remote populations, gender and sexual minorities. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (WaterSanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign will continue to raise awareness on the same along with focussing on the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children, fight malnutrition, mental wellbeing, self care, science and health, adolescent health & gender awareness. Along with the health of people, the campaign has realised the need to also take care of the health of the eco-system. Our environment is fragile due to human activity, which is not only over-exploiting available resources, but also generating immense pollution as a result of using and extracting those resources. The imbalance has also led to immense biodiversity loss that has caused one of the biggest threats to human survival – climate change. It has now been described as a “code red for humanity.” The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollutionwaste managementplastic banmanual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene. Banega Swasth India will also be taking forward the dream of Swasth Bharat, the campaign feels that only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diarrhoea and the country can become a Swasth or healthy India.

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