Social networks: the US warns about the mental damage they can cause

The social networks They are definitely a double-edged sword. On the one hand, they can help people connect with acquaintances or take their minds off a distressing reality for a while. But on the other hand, the excessive use It is a problem that can lead to pathologies of all kinds and even alterations of real life”.

This was warned on Tuesday the 23rd by the United States Surgeon General In a statement, he asked technology companies to protect the children who are in critical stages of their brain development.

Vivek Murthy. Photo: AFP

vivek murthy ensures that although social networks offer some benefits, “there are ample indications that they can also have a deep risk of damage for the mental health and the well-being of children and adolescents.

“We are in the midst of a national crisis of youth Mental Health, and I’m worried that the Social networks are an important engine of that crisis, a crisis that we must urgently address,” he said in the report published on the official website of the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

“The use of social media can cause and perpetuate body image problemsaffect eating behaviors and sleep quality, and lead to social comparison and low self-esteem,” says the report citing responses from a survey conducted among adolescents.

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Teens who spend more than three hours a day on social media are twice as likely to suffer from communication problems. mental healthas symptoms of depression and anxiety, according to what a series of recommendations at the end of the report say.

Tech companies should respect age limits to control access to social media platforms and be transparent about data about their products’ impact on children, urges another suggestion.

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Murthy’s advice to parents and caregivers:

  • Create a family plan: They can help set technological boundaries at home, including social media
  • Create tech-free zones and encourage kids to foster in-person friendships
  • Restrict the use of phones, tablets, and computers to at least an hour before bed
  • Model responsible behavior on social media: As children learn behaviors and habits from what they see around them, try to model the behavior you want to see.
  • Teaching children about technology and empowering them to be responsible participants: discussing with children the benefits and risks of social media
  • • Report cyberbullying, online abuse and exploitation: provide support without judgment
  • Work with other parents to help establish norms and practices: support programs and policies on the healthy use of social networks.


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