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Amid what he called the worst youth mental health crisis in recent memory, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory Tuesday warning about social media’s impact on developing young brains.

“Through the last two and a half years I’ve been in office, I’ve been hearing concerns from kids and parents,” Murthy told STAT. “Parents are asking ‘Is social media safe for my kids?’ Based on our review of the data, there isn’t enough evidence that it is safe for our kids.”


The surgeon general’s report comes in the wake of a recent health advisory on teens and social media use from the American Psychological Association, which noted the increased risk of anxiety and depression among adolescents who are exposed to discrimination and bullying online. Other research has shown that adolescents ages 12-15 who spent more than three hours per day on social media face a heightened risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes compared to those who spent less time online.

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