Surgeon General Wants Social Media Platforms To Have Warning Labels

Surgeon General Wants Social Media Platforms To Have Warning Labels

( – The surgeon general acts as the nation’s doctor. The person who holds this esteemed position is responsible for protecting and improving the safety and health of the American public. As such, part of the duties include assigning warnings to products that could pose risks. Vivek Murthy is now targeting Big Tech.

Many people are familiar with the surgeon general’s prominent warnings featured on tobacco boxes, cautioning about the dangers associated with smoking. Murthy wants to attach a similar warning to social media apps. In an opinion piece published in The New York Times, he addressed what he feels are the dangers that social media platforms pose, particularly to adolescents.

Murthy said there’s an emergent “mental health crisis among young people” and that social media outlets serve “as an important contributor.” He cited statistics that showed those who spend more than three hours a day on the apps “face double the risk of anxiety and depression symptoms.” Because of this, he said a surgeon general’s warning has become critical.

Murthy said the warning would notify users “that social media has not been proved (SIC) safe” and could cause more parents to keep a closer eye on what their children do. He cited a recent survey in which 76% of Latino parents said the warning would prompt them to either monitor or limit their children’s usage to nail his point home.

However, Murthy can’t simply add a surgeon general’s notice on his own volition. He requires Congressional action before he can implement a warning.

The surgeon general is urging lawmakers to act. However, he’s not solely relying on them. He’s calling on society as a whole.

Murthy wants companies to share their data and platforms to restrict specific features such as push notifications, infinite scrolling, and autoplay, all of which he said contribute to the platforms’ addictive nature.

This wasn’t Murthy’s first time calling social media onto the carpet. In May 2023, he issued an advisory about the perceived dangers of the platforms. Now, he’s pushing for more action in hopes of protecting America’s children.

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