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Surgeon General warns about the dangers of social media for teenagers


The Surgeon General is now warning that social media is harmful to teenagers!

The rates of teenage depression, sadness and hopelessness have skyrocketed over the past decade. Now surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy is warning about the dangers of social media for teens.

Despite the warning, nearly all teens are using social media platforms 95% of teens ages 13-17, according to the report.

And about a third say, they're on social media "almost constantly."

“There's a lot of comparison that goes on via social media, especially for our young female clients that we see. But for both boys and girls, it's a constant presence of both good and bad from their peers,” said Glen Gaugh, a therapist at Positive Living Group.

“Kids today are growing up with access to information we couldn't have even imagined. And they're connected in ways that we couldn't imagine,” said Mark Baldwin, the president of Lifeworks Resources.

And social media is something that Baldwin realizes is hard for teens to get away from, “It's intentionally designed in a way that's addictive. And so it's we're in this reward system. And if you think about the short form social media that's coming out, that really triggers that reward system in our brain.”

“It affects their daily lives as far as their sleep habits, and how attentive they can be to other priorities or tasks. And it can even stimulate trauma and grief when something like the suicide of a beloved actor or teen star is broadcast," said Gaugh.

But what can teens and their parents do to combat the negative effects of social media?

“We need to decrease the amount of social media use, technology use, and at the same time increase the amount of face-to-face contacts that we have with people," Baldwin said.

“As the summer's coming on, keep scheduled and structured activities that you can get your children and teens involved in and unplug for a little while off of social media," added Gaugh.

Both Gaugh and Baldwin recommend limiting screen time for teens.

The Surgeon General is hoping more than just parents get involved. His advisory urges policymakers and the companies that make the social media platforms to share the burden of managing teenagers’ social media use.

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