U.S. surgeon general issues an advisory for a warning label on social media platforms for adolescents

By admin Jun18,2024


Young people are often bombarded with messages through media and popular culture that erode their sense of self-worth.

The U.S. Surgeon General has issued an advisory highlighting the urgent need to address the mental health challenges faced by children, adolescents, and young adults in the United States. The advisory, titled “Protecting Youth Mental Health,” emphasizes that these challenges are real, widespread, and, most importantly, treatable and often preventable.

Recent national surveys reveal alarming increases in the prevalence of certain mental health issues among young people. In 2019, one in three high school students and half of female students reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness, a 40% increase from 2009.

The advisory acknowledges that various factors, including genes, brain chemistry, relationships, neighborhood conditions, and larger social forces and policies, shape mental health. However, young people are often bombarded with messages through social media and popular culture that erode their sense of self-worth. At the same time, progress on distressing issues like climate change, income inequality, racial injustice, the opioid epidemic, and gun violence feels slow.

While technology platforms like Instagram, Tik Tok, and Facebook can improve lives in important ways, they can also have adverse effects when not deployed responsibly and safely. They can reinforce negative behaviors like bullying and exclusion and undermine the safe and supportive environments young people need and deserve.

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the unprecedented stresses young people already faced, with its unfathomable number of deaths, pervasive sense of fear, economic instability, and forced physical distancing from loved ones, friends, and communities.

The Surgeon General emphasizes that it would be a tragedy to beat back one public health crisis only to allow another to grow. The advisory provides actionable recommendations for young people and their families, schools, health care systems, technology and media companies, employers, community organizations, and governments.

Ensuring healthy children and families will require an all-of-society effort, including policy, institutional, and individual changes in how mental health is viewed and prioritized. The Surgeon General believes that coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is an unprecedented opportunity to rebuild in a way that refocuses the country’s identity and common values, puts people first, and strengthens connections to each other.

The advisory stresses that the obligation to act is not just medical but also moral. By seizing this moment, stepping up for children and their families in their moment of need, and leading with inclusion, kindness, and respect, the foundation for a healthier, more resilient, and more fulfilled nation can be laid.

To read the entire report, visit here.

By admin

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *