US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is calling for “urgent action” by tech companies and lawmakers to protect the mental health of children and teens on social media.
But after years of moderate and inadequate action by both social media platforms and policy makers, parents and young people are still exposed to rapidly changing, often secret algorithms, addictive apps and the harmful world of extreme and inappropriate content found on platforms. bear most of the burden in navigating the Such as Instagram, Tiktok and Snapchat.
So what can parents and youth do now? The surgeon general has some suggestions.
“Our children and adolescents do not have the luxury of waiting for the full extent of the influence of social media to take effect,” Murthy said in an advisory issued on Tuesday. “Their childhood and development are happening now:”
tips for young people
Reach out for help: If you or someone you know is being negatively affected by social media, reach out to a trusted friend or adult for help. Check out the American Academy of Pediatrics’ guidance on social media.
– Create limits: To make sure you get enough sleep, limit phone, tablet and computer use at least an hour before bedtime and throughout the night. Keep meal times and in-person gatherings device-free to help build social bonds and engage in two-way conversations with others. Connect with people in person and make unplugged interactions a daily priority.
– Be cautious about what you share: Personal information about you has value. Be selective with what you post and share online and with whom you share it, as it is often public and may be permanently stored. If you’re not sure whether you should post something, it’s usually best not to post.
– Don’t keep the harassment or abuse a secret: reach out 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 need you are entitled. Visit stopbullying.gov for tips on how to report cyberbullying. If you have experienced online harassment and abuse by a dating partner, contact a specialist at Love is Respect for support. If your private images have been taken and shared online without your permission, visit Take It Down for help removing them.
Tips for parents and carers
– Create a family media plan: Agreed-upon expectations can help establish healthy technology boundaries at home – including social media use. A family media plan can promote open family discussion and rules about media use and include topics such as balancing screen/online time, content limits, and not disclosing personal information.
– Create a tech-free zone: Restrict the use of electronics at least 1 hour before bedtime and throughout the night. Keep meal times and other in-person gatherings technology-free. Help children develop social skills and develop their personal relationships by encouraging unstructured and offline relationships with others.
– Model responsible behavior: Parents set a good example by limiting their own use, being aware of social media habits (when and how parents share information or content about their child) and modeling What social media use looks like. Positive behavior on your social media accounts.
– Empower Kids: Teach kids about technology and empower them to be responsible age-appropriate online participants. Discuss with children the benefits and risks of social media, as well as the importance of respecting privacy and protecting personal information in age-appropriate ways. Interact with children about who they are connecting with, their privacy settings, their online experiences and how they are spending their time online.