US Surgeon General calls for social media warning labels to protect adolescents


FILE PHOTO: U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 8, 2023. REUTERS/Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Monday called for a warning label to be added to social media apps as a reminder that those platforms have caused harm to young people, especially adolescents.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Murthy wrote that a warning label alone will not make social media safe for young people but that it can increase awareness and change behavior as shown in evidence from tobacco studies. The U.S. Congress would need to pass legislation requiring such a warning label.

Youth advocates and lawmakers have long accused social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Snapchat of what they say is a harmful effect on kids, including shortened attention spans, promoting negative body images, and making them vulnerable to online bullies and predators.

"It is time to require a surgeon general's warning label on social media platforms, stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents," Murthy wrote on Monday.

TikTok, Snap and Meta Platforms, owner of Facebook and Instagram, did not respond to requests for comment.

The CEOs of those three companies, along with social media platform X and messaging app Discord, were grilled by U.S. senators in January during a hearing about online child safety, with Republican Senator Lindsey Graham accusing the leaders of having "blood on your hands," for failing to protect young users from sexual predators.

Some U.S. states have been working to pass legislation to safeguard children from the harmful effects of social media, such as anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses as a result.

New York state lawmakers this month passed legislation to bar social media platforms from exposing "addictive" algorithmic content to users under age 18 without parental consent.

In March, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a bill that bans children under 14 from social media platforms and requires 14- and 15-year-olds to get parental consent.

(This story has been refiled to correct Senator Lindsey Graham's name in paragraph 6)

(Reporting by Kanishka Singh in Washington and Sheila Dang in Austin; Editing by Tomasz Janowski and Stephen Coates)

Follow us on our official WhatsApp channel for breaking news alerts and key updates!

   

Next In Tech News

Nigerian judge adjourns Binance money laundering trial to October
New Ray-Ban Meta glasses have outsold previous version, Essilux CEO says
India's Ola Electric likely to set valuation at around $4.5 billion for IPO, sources says
Exclusive-FTC seeking details on Amazon deal with AI startup Adept, source says
SymphonyAI targets second half 2025 IPO with $500 million in revenue run rate
Microsoft's hiring of former Inflection AI staff prompts UK probe
Former Yandex chief Volozh returns with AI infrastructure venture after Russia split
Amazon Prime Day is a big event for scammers, experts warn
Russian tech firm Yandex's ex-international businesses launch as Nebius Group
Self-proclaimed bitcoin inventor faces UK criminal probe for alleged perjury

Others Also Read