Platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. are entertaining outlets for many. One can spend hours scrolling and never get board. However, the U.S. Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, recently issued a warning via an official advisory report, that highlights a serious problem with these social media outlets. The Surgeon General warned that these platforms, among others, are contributing to depression, anxiety, and other problems in our nation’s teenage population, driving a mental health crisis.

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The advisory report highlights growing concerns regarding the effects of social media use on adolescent mental health. The advisory urges policymakers and social media companies to help manage social media usage among children and teens, in hopes to curb the growing mental health crisis.


“Teen depression started to rise around 2012, a time that coincides with the popularity of smartphones,”Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University and the author of “Generations: The Real Differences between Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, Boomers and Silents—and What They Mean for America’s Future,” said in an interview per NBC News.

He continued, stating that during this time, “‘likes’ on posts became common, and the algorithms started to become more sophisticated to keep people on social media for longer. That’s clearly not a coincidence.”


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Murthy, who is a huge mental health proponent, stated mental health of our nation’s youth is “the defining public health issue of our time.” He continued, “At this point, we do not have enough evidence to say with confidence that social media is sufficiently safe for our kids. We have to now take action to make sure that we are protecting our kids.”

According to the advisory report, up to 95% of teens between the ages of 13 and 17 say that they use a social media platform An estimated third of those teens said that they are scrolling, posting or otherwise engaged with social media “almost constantly.”

While scrolling, teens are more often than not can be exposed to harmful material, cyberbulling, material that perpetuates eating disorders/body dysmorphia, low self-esteem, etc.

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So, just what exactly can be done to help with this crisis? Well, the advisory report offers many suggestions such for both politicians and social media companies.

“Policymakers need to step up and help ensure that we have strong safety standards, to help protect our kids from exposure to harmful content, and to also protect them from excessive use,” Murthy said.

Some suggestions made to help include: enforcing age minimums, create online time limits, create tech-free zones in the household, and have a national discussion.

To read the complete advisory report regarding this subject, click here.

Tiffany Silva

Tiffany Silva

Writer and Editor

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