TikTok logo is displayed on the screen of a smartphone. (Photo Illustration by Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
On cigarette packs and many other things, we see Surgeon General warnings, but one may someday be appearing on all social media platforms.
According to U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy, it’s time to make that happen. Murthy just released the Surgeon General’s Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health and says social media companies aren’t doing nearly enough to keep their young users safe, and something needs to be done about it.
They say about 95% of kids between the ages of thirteen and seventeen are on social media, and the Department of Health and Human Services announced Dr. Murthy is issuing a “call for urgent action by policymakers, technology companies, researchers, families, and young people alike to discover the full impact of social media use and minimize the harms of social media platforms, and create safer, healthier online environments to protect children.” The key age demographic of “near universal” social media use coincides with “a critical stage in brain development that can make young people more vulnerable to harms from social media,” the agency explains.
Dr. Murthy says in his report, “The most common question parents ask me is, is social media safe for my kids? The answer is that we don’t have enough evidence to say it’s safe, and in fact, there is growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people’s mental health.” He goes on to say, “Children are exposed to harmful content on social media, ranging from violent and sexual content, to bullying and harassment. And social media use is compromising their sleep and valuable in-person time with family and friends.”
The doctor goes on to say, “We are in the middle of a national youth mental health crisis, and I am concerned that social media is an important driver of that crisis one that we must urgently address.” He also says platforms like TikTok haven’t done enough to ensure kids aren’t exposed to harmful content.
New Jersey Seatbelt Crackdown Launches In 134 Communities
New Jersey is cracking down on drivers and passengers who are not wearing seatbelts. The annual “Click It or Ticket” campaign began today (May 22) and runs through June 4. According to The Patch, $800,000 is awarded to local police for enhanced seat belt enforcement.
“Law enforcement agencies take a ‘no-excuses’ approach to seat belt enforcement,” the Attorney General’s office said. The maximum penalty for a seat belt violation in New Jersey is a $46 fine, added AG Matthew Platkin’s office.
“Click It or Ticket” is aimed to help with senseless driving and the safety of drivers and passengers. According to data from the Division of Highway and Traffic Safety, 47% of all people killed in motor vehicle crashes were not wearing a seat belt. In 2021, 160 unrestrained people died in New Jersey roadway crashes.
“Too many New Jerseyans needlessly lose their lives due to motor vehicle-related fatalities, and reducing these preventable deaths is a top priority for my office,” said Platkin. “Our campaign will help raise awareness of this critical and proven way of preventing serious injury or death in the event of a motor vehicle crash. Seat belts save lives – it’s that simple.”
How Is “Click It or Ticket” funded?
A grant from The Division of Highway and Traffic Safety (HTS) goes to 134 New Jersey law enforcement agencies to fund the campaign, said Attorney General Matthew Platkin, per the outlet. The funds are used for “increased road patrols, seat belt checkpoints, and other enforcement initiatives during the campaign.”
According to officials, last year’s “Click It or Ticket” campaign garnered 8,373 seatbelt violations across the state. 3,315 summonses for speeding were written up, as well as 278 arrests for impaired driving.
“New Jerseyans need to grasp how important it is to buckle up, every time, anywhere you are going,” said Michael J. Rizol Jr., Director of the Division of Highway Traffic Safety. “Taking a few seconds to buckle yourself in reduces your risk of fatal injury in a serious crash by fifty percent. There is no excuse for making the wrong decision, and if you do, you can expect to be pulled over and ticketed.”
Take a look below at which communities are receiving grant money and how much per the AG office: