Reading this week’s report from the U.S. Surgeon General on the risks of social media to kids and teens should be on every parents’ immediate to do list.
It was described by the New York Times this week as “an extraordinary public warning”. The nation’s top doctor is urging strong efforts to fully understand and prevent the possible harm of social media to “the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”
His 19-page advisory includes a list of things families can and should do to help.
The Surgeon General’s report recommends that kids and teens not be on their smartphones and tablets during mealtimes and during other family gatherings to help strengthen social bonds and promote conversation, as in talking with one another.
And the report suggests creating a “family media plan” to set boundaries for the use of social media.
He also calls on the companies that make smartphones and tablets to enforce minimum age limits and to create default settings for children that have high safety and privacy standards. And he urges Congress to create age-appropriate health and safety standards for technology platforms.
With the rise of anxiety and depression among adolescents and teens in the U.S. this Surgeon General’s report needs to result in action by families, tech companies and the government. Our kids are too important not to act.
(Photo Getty Images)