Dr. Vivek Murthy, the US surgeon general, is calling on tech companies and lawmakers to take “immediate action” to protect the mental health of children and teens on social media.
But after years of complacency and lackluster action from both social media platforms and politicians, parents and young people still bear a heavy burden in navigating a fast-changing, often harmful world of secret algorithms, addictive apps and extreme and inappropriate content. which can be found on the platforms. such as Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat.
Dr. Sarah Siddiqui joined us on this morning’s edition of Eyewitness News on our 24/7 broadcast to discuss the US Surgeon General’s new warning regarding children and social media use. You can watch it in the media player above.
So what should parents and young people do now? The surgeon general has some advice.
“Our children and teenagers cannot afford the luxury of waiting years until we know the full extent of social media’s impact,” Murthy said in the advisory released Tuesday. “Their childhood and development is happening now:”
ADVICE TO YOUTH
– Get help: If you or someone you know is being negatively affected by social media, get help from a trusted friend or adult. Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics’ social media guidelines.
– Create boundaries: Limit phone, tablet and computer use at least an hour before bed and throughout the night to ensure you get enough sleep. Keep mealtimes and in-person meetings device-free to help build social connections and engage in two-way conversations with others. Connect with people in person and make offline engagement a daily priority.
– Be careful what you share: Personal information about you has value. Be selective about what you post and share online and with whom, as it is often public and can be persistent. If you’re not sure if something should be published, it’s usually best not to.
– Don’t keep the harassment and abuse a secret: Talk to at least one person you trust, such as a close friend, family member, counselor or teacher, who can give you the help and support you deserve. Visit stopbullying.gov for tips on how to report cyberbullying. If you’ve experienced online harassment and abuse from a dating partner, reach out to an expert at Love is Respect for support. If your personal images have been taken and shared online without your permission, visit Take It Down to help get them removed.
ADVICE TO PARENTS AND GUARDIANS
– Create a family media plan: Agreed expectations can help set healthy technology boundaries at home – including social media use. A family media plan can facilitate open family discussion and media rules and include topics such as the balance of screen and internet time, content limits and non-disclosure of personal information
– Create tech-free zones: Limit electronic use at least an hour before bed and throughout the night. Save time for meals and other in-person meetings without the use of technology. Help children develop social skills and nurture their personal relationships by encouraging unstructured and offline connections with others.
– Model responsible behavior: Parents can set a good example of what responsible and healthy social media use looks like by limiting their own use, being mindful of social media habits (including when and how parents share information or content about their child) and modeling positive behavior on your social media accounts.
– Child Empowerment: Educate children about technology and empower them to be responsible internet participants at an appropriate age. Discuss with children the benefits and risks of social media and the importance of maintaining privacy and protecting personal information in age-appropriate ways. Talk to your children about who they communicate with, their privacy settings, their internet and how they spend their time online.
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