Surgeon General Recommends the Appropriate Age for Kids to Start Social Media
I remember having a discussion with my wife about how early is too early to allow our kids on social media. Ultimately, like many other parents, we allowed them at a much earlier age than what is now being recommended.
A recent study published in the medical journal JAMA Pediatrics concluded that “social media checking behaviors in early adolescence may be associated with changes in the brain’s sensitivity to social rewards and punishments.” It warned how social media use “rewires” adolescents’ brains.
This prompted a response by Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy during his appearance on CNN and he warned that children should only be allowed to access the platforms once they’re between 16 and 18 which is several years older than social media companies currently allow.
Dr. Murthy also shared, “I, personally, based on the data I’ve seen, believe that 13 is too early,” and “It’s a time where it’s really important for us to be thoughtful about what’s going into how they think about their own self-worth and their relationships, and the skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many of those children.”
Similar to the JAMA study, Murthy warned that young people are being bombarded with harmful messages that damage their self-esteem. And then there’s a recent study by NGO report that claims TikTok’s algorithm targets “vulnerable teens” and recommends “harmful” content to them, sometimes as rapidly as every 27 to 39 seconds.
The Surgeon General also said, “If parents can band together and say, as a group, we’re not going to allow our kids to use social media until 16 or 17 or 18 or whatever age they choose, that’s a much more effective strategy in making sure your kids don’t get exposed to harm early.”
It will interesting to see if these findings and opinions will influence parents’ decisions regarding their children’s social media use.