According to CNN, even though many sites accept users under the age of 13, United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy has stated that children under 13 should not use social media since they are still “forming their identity.”
Meta, Twitter, and many other social networking sites already welcome 13-year-olds. A rising body of studies reveals the adverse effects of social media use, which has medical professionals concerned about the expanding usage among children. Because these sites are so popular, Murthy recognized that keeping youngsters away from them would take a lot of work.
However, he stated that parents would have a higher chance if they worked together. According to him, parents agreeing to a blanket ban on their children using social media until they reach a certain age is a more efficient way to protect children from online risk (say, 16 or 17, or 18).
According to current research, constant exposure to social media may create a chemical change in the brains of particular youngsters. As per a study published this month in JAMA Pediatrics, adolescents who used social media more often had increased neural sensitivity in particular brain areas, making those areas more vulnerable to social consequences over time.
Psychiatrists such as Dr. Adriana Stacey have noticed this tendency for quite some time. According to Stacey, a psychologist specializing in treating teens and young adults, social media use causes a “dopamine dump” in the brain.
When we engage in pleasurable activities, such as using cocaine or constantly checking our phones, our brains are flooded with dopamine. “It trains our brains to keep doing it,” she explained. Compared to adults, teens have a more active portion of the brain. They’ve hit a standstill and are unable to regain motivation.
New research has discovered even more negative effects of excessive screen time on a child’s developing brain. Excessive screen time, for example, was shown to be strongly related to lower levels of expressive language and literacy in preschoolers.
Democratic Senator Chris Murphy addressed the consequences of social media on depression and loneliness in an essay for the Bulwark.” Because so much of our lives have been devoted to screen-to-screen contact, it does not deliver the same sense of worth and enjoyment as talking to or seeing someone,” Murphy mentioned.
Murphy and Murthy have a personal connection to the issue of the overuse of social media. Murthy is a father to children, even though Murphy has teens. Murphy argued that the United States is not helpless against Big Tech. Concerns for lawmakers include how much time young children should spend in front of devices and how to urge tech companies to make their algorithms less seductive.
The problem of addictive algorithms was explored, and the Surgeon General noted that it is “simply not a fair fight” to put adolescents against Big Tech. He said that these tools were created by “some of the top designers and product developers in the world” so that consumers could make the most of their time on these platforms.
To make matters worse, when we tell a youngster, “Use the strength of your willpower to manage how much time you spend,” we are putting that child in competition with the world’s most excellent product designers.
Despite the obstacles that parents and children confront, Murphy expressed optimism about the future of social media. Even though more unsafe automobiles are on the road, he claims that limitations have been imposed to make driving safer. “We should make decisions to make [social media] a good experience that would make teenagers feel better about themselves and less alone,” writes the author.