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US Surgeon General Advises Parents and Teens on Social Media Use

US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has called on tech companies and lawmakers to take “immediate action” to protect the mental health of children and adolescents on social media.

However, despite years of half-baked and inadequate action by both social media platforms and policy makers, secretive algorithms, highly addictive apps, and extreme and inappropriate behavior found on the platforms have led to the Parents and young people still bear the lion’s share of the burden of navigating a rapidly changing and often toxic world, including content. Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat and more.

So what can parents and young people do now? The Surgeon General has some tips.

“Our children and adolescents cannot afford to wait years to see the full impact of social media,” Murthy said in a recommendation issued Tuesday. “Their childhood and growing up are happening now.”

tips for young people

– Seek help: If you or someone you know is being negatively affected by social media, ask a trusted friend or adult for help. Check out the guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics on social media.

– Set boundaries: Limit cell phone, tablet, and computer use at least an hour before bedtime and into the night to ensure you’re getting enough sleep. Make mealtimes and in-person gatherings device-free to build social bonds and engage in two-way conversations with others. Connect directly with people and make unplugged interactions 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 you share it, as it is often public and can be stored forever. If you’re not sure whether to post something, it’s better not to post it.

– Don’t keep harassment or abuse secret. Contact at least one of her close friends, family members, counselors, teachers, or other people you trust who can give you the help and support you deserve. Visit for tips on how to report cyberbullying. If you’ve experienced online harassment or abuse by your dating partner, seek professional help at Love is Respect. If private images have been taken without your permission and shared online, please visit Take It Down to remove them.

Tips for Parents and Caregivers

– Create a family media plan: Agreed expectations help establish healthy technology boundaries within the home, including social media use. Family media plans encourage open family discussion and rules for media use, and can include topics such as balancing screen and online time, content boundaries, and non-disclosure of personal information.

– Create a tech-free zone: limit the use of electronic devices at least one hour before bedtime and into the night. Avoid using technology for meals and other in-person gatherings. Help children develop social skills and nurture interpersonal relationships by encouraging unstructured, offline connections with others.

– Model responsible behavior: Parents should limit their own use and be mindful of and model social media habits (such as when and how parents share information and content about their children) By doing so, we can set a good example of what responsible and healthy social media use looks like. Positive behavior on social media accounts.

– Empower Children: Teaching children about technology and empowering them to be age-appropriate and responsible online participants. Discuss with children the benefits and risks of social media and the importance of respecting privacy and protecting personal information in an age-appropriate manner. Have a conversation with your kids about who they’re connected to, their privacy settings, their online experience, and how they’re spending their time online. US Surgeon General Advises Parents and Teens on Social Media Use

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