Kids, mental health, and social media

Last year, Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, issued an advisory report on social media and the mental health of kids:

“The current body of evidence indicates that while social media may
have benefits for some children and adolescents, there are ample indicators
that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health
and well-being of children and adolescents….” — Social Media and Youth Mental Health (U.S. Surgeon General’s Office, 2023)

Since then, Dr. Murthy has called on Congress to place health warning labels on social media sites.

This is not just a public health concern. It’s also a religious concern, or should be. In a recent opinion piece, Rabbi Jeffrey Salkin writes:

“A religious temperament might mean questioning our utter reliance on such technology: creating islands of time, like the Sabbath or Sunday, when we would liberate ourselves from technology and being more self-aware of how we use our tools, which have become our toys…. That [old] rabbinic statement that has become a cliche: ‘Whoever saves one life, it is as if they have saved the entire world.’ If regulating access to social media will save the life of one kid, it will be worth it.”

We now know that social media has serious adverse effects on adolescent and pre-adolescent health. So let’s do something about it.