US surgeon general warns of social media impact on kids' mental health

  • The US surgeon general has warned of the risks of social media on kids' mental health. 
  • Dr Vivek Murthy called for "immediate action" to shield children from the possible risks.
  • Some tips he shared included setting boundaries when using devices and being cautious about what and how much is shared with strangers online.  

Time reports that the United States surgeon general, Dr Vivek Murthy, has called for "immediate action" to shield the mental health of kids and adolescents on social media.

"Our children and adolescents don't have the luxury of waiting years until we know the full extent of social media's impact. Their childhood and development are happening now," he told the publication.

Here are some things that Dr Murthy recommends to help protect young people from the potential impact of social media.

READ MORE | Is your phone stealing your peace? Ditching these unhealthy habits may relieve tech-related anxiety

Ask for help

Reach out to a trusted friend or adult if you or someone you know is negatively impacted by social media.

Develop boundaries

Creating boundaries can take many forms, including prioritising unplugged interactions and connecting with people in person. 

Ideas for boundaries include device-free meal times and in-person gatherings or limiting devices to one hour before bedtime to help get better sleep.

READ MORE | Loneliness as deadly as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to US report

Approach sharing with caution

Before you post something online, remember that what you post is often public and can be stored permanently.

Harassment or abuse should not be a secret

If someone is harassing, bullying or violating you online, you deserve help and support. Reaching out to someone you trust can include a friend, family member, counsellor or teacher.

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