US Surgeon General: 13-Year-Olds Shouldn’t Be On Social Media, Here’s Why

US Surgeon General: 13-Year-Olds Shouldn’t Be On Social Media, Here’s Why


Photo: Marta Wave, Pexels

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wants parents to keep their teenagers off of social media. Murthy said he feels 13-year-olds shouldn’t have access to social media. According to Murthy, social media can have damaging effects on the mental health of young people.

Most social media platforms require users to be 13 or older to make an account.

“I, personally, based on the data I’ve seen, believe that 13 is too early,” he told CNN. “It’s a time where it’s really important for us to be thoughtful about what’s going into how they think about their own self-worth and their relationships and the skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many of those children.”

While Murthy acknowledged that it would be a challenge to keep children off social media, he said parents should make a joint effort to keep kids away from social media.

“If parents can band together and say you know, as a group, we’re not going to allow our kids to use social media until 16 or 17 or 18 or whatever age they choose, that’s a much more effective strategy in making sure your kids don’t get exposed to harm early,” he told CNN.

Social media users aged 19 to 29 are the most active on social media (84 percent have an account). They’re followed by users aged 30-49 (81 percent), 50-64 (73 percent), and 65+ (45 percent). Across these Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube platforms, 35 percent of all U.S. teens say they are on at least one of them almost constantly, according to Pew Research.

Research published in JAMA Pediatrics reveals habitually checking social media can alter the brain chemistry of adolescents.

According to a study, students who checked social media more regularly displayed greater neural sensitivity in certain parts of their brains, making their brains more sensitive to social consequences over time, CNN reported.

“When we do things that are addictive like using cocaine or using smartphones, our brains release a lot of dopamine at once. It tells our brains to keep using that,” Psychiatrists like Dr. Adriana Stacey said. “For teenagers in particular, this part of their brain is actually hyperactive compared to adults. They can’t get motivated to do anything else.”

Photo: Marta Wave, Pexels, https://www.pexels.com/photo/serious-ethnic-little-girl-using-tablet-during-weekend-at-home-with-sibling-6437817/