Dr Murthy, US Surgeon General demands social media warning labels


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US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has called upon Congress to issue warning labels on social media platforms, similar to those on cigarette boxes, to alert about potential mental health risks, especially for adolescents. This is in response to what he calls an “emergency” mental health crisis amongst youth, citing studies linking high social media usage with adverse effects.

In an op-ed published in The New York Times, the top Indian-American physician said the mental health crisis among young people is an urgent problem, with social media “an important contributor.”

Murthy said his vision of the warning label includes language that would alert users to the potential mental health harms of the websites and apps. A warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and adolescents that social media has not been proven safe, he elaborated.

He cited several studies, including a 2019 American Medical Association study published in JAMA that showed teens who spend three hours a day on social media double their risk of depression. As per a Gallup poll, Teens spend nearly five hours a day on social media apps.

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