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In a remarkable public statement on Tuesday, the nation’s leading health official expressed grave concerns about the impact of social media on young people. Dr. Vivek Murthy, the United States Surgeon General, emphasized the need to fully comprehend the potential dangers to children and adolescents’ mental health and well-being. The article herein invites you to review our starter list of suggestions for therapists working with youth and their families. Please add to the conversation if you can.

Titled, Surgeon General’s Advisory on Protecting Youth Mental Health, Dr. Murthy’s 19-page advisory offered a balanced view that social media’s influence on teenagers’ mental health is still not completely understood. On the one hand, he recognized that social media could positively affect specific individuals. On the other, he emphasized that substantial evidence points to the significant risks social media poses to young people’s mental health and well-being.

A quick overview of the Surgeon General’s warnings is provided for your convenience.

Widespread Social Media Use and Safety Concerns. Social media is widely used among young people, with up to 95% of teenagers and even 40% of children aged 8-12 active on social media platforms. However, there is insufficient evidence to determine the safety of social media use for children and adolescents, especially during the vulnerable period of brain development in adolescence.

Mixed Impact of Social Media. The effects of social media on children and adolescents vary based on individual strengths, vulnerabilities, cultural influences, and socioeconomic factors. Social media can offer benefits, such as providing connections for marginalized youth, offering positive and identity-affirming content, facilitating self-expression, and fostering a sense of acceptance. Nevertheless, growing evidence indicates concerns about the…

From Telebehavioral Health Institute – Read More


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