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US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says 13 is too young for kids to be on social media platforms

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy says he thinks 13 is too young for kids to be on social media platforms, because even though the sites allow kids of that age to join, kids are still “developing their identity.”

Meta, Twitter, and a host of other social media giants currently allow 13-year-olds to join their platforms.

“I, personally, based on the data I’ve seen, think 13 is a very early age…it’s a time when it’s really important for us to think about what goes into the way they think about their self-esteem and value,” Murthy said on CNN. The Newsroom reports “The distorted and distorted relationships and environment of social media is often detrimental to many of these children.”

The number of teens on social media has sparked concern among medical professionals, who point to a growing body of research on the harm such platforms can cause to teens.

Murthy acknowledged the difficulties of distancing children from these platforms due to their popularity, but suggested that parents could find success by presenting a united front.

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

Adolescents are especially at risk

New research suggests that habitual checking on social media can alter teens’ brain chemistry.

According to a study published this month in JAMA Pediatrics, students who checked social media more regularly showed greater neuronal sensitivity in certain parts of their brains, making their brains more sensitive to social consequences over time.

Psychiatrists like Dr. Adriana Stacy have referred to this phenomenon for years. Stacey, who works primarily with teens and college students, told CNN that using social media releases a “dopamine dump” in the brain.

“When we do addictive things like using cocaine or using smartphones, our brains release a lot of dopamine at once. It tells our brains to keep doing that,” she said. “For teens especially, this part of the brain is actually overactive compared to adults. They can’t be motivated to do anything else.”

Recent studies highlight other ways excessive screen time can affect brain development. In young children, for example, excessive screen time was significantly associated with poorer emerging literacy skills and the ability to use expressive language.

Lawmakers are taking notice

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy, who recently published an article in the Bulwark newspaper about loneliness and mental health, echoed the surgeon general’s concerns about social media. “We’ve lost something as a society, where so much of our lives has shifted to screen-to-screen communication, it doesn’t give you the same sense of value and the same sense of satisfaction as talking to someone or seeing someone,” Murphy told CNN in an interview with Murthy.

For both Murphy and Murthy, the issue of social media addiction is a personal one. Both men are fathers – Murphy for teens and Murphy for young children. “It is no coincidence that Dr. Murthy and I talk more about this issue of loneliness than about others in public life,” Murphy told CNN. “I look at this from the perspective of my 14-year-old and my 11-year-old.”

Murphy explained that the United States, as a country, is not helpless in the face of big technology companies. Lawmakers can make various decisions on limiting young children’s use of social media and motivating companies to make algorithms less addictive.

Similarly, the Surgeon General addressed addictive algorithms, explaining that pitting teens against Big Tech is “not just a fair fight”. He told CNN, “You have some of the best designers and product developers in the world who have designed these products to make sure that people increase the amount of time they spend on these platforms. And if we tell a kid, use the power of your willpower to control the amount of time you spend, you’re putting a kid in.” Confront the world’s greatest product designers.”

Despite the obstacles facing parents and children, Murphy has drawn his attention to optimism about the future of social media.

“None of this is out of our control,” he told CNN. “When we had dangerous vehicles on the road, we passed laws to make those vehicles less dangerous.” “We must make decisions to make (social media) a healthy experience that makes children feel better about themselves and less alone.”

CNN contributed to his reporting.



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