Vivek Murthy’s latest advisory is spotlighting the link between social media and teen suicide.

Murthy, a Democrat, and the current United States Surgeon General said,

“For too many children, social media use is compromising their sleep and valuable in-person time with family and friends.”

“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.”

Speaking to mums and dads concerned about whether social media was hurting their kids, he added,

“We don’t have enough evidence to say [social media is] safe. [However], there is growing evidence that social media harms young people’s mental health.”

 

The 25-page Social Media and Youth Mental Health statement, supports Dads4Kids cyber caveats drawing clear lines between the helpful, and the harmful.

Over the past three years I’ve provided both anecdotal evidence and research findings arguing that kids are stuck in a techno-trap.

See:

  1. Teen Suicide and Social Media
  2. 3 Dads Walking to Raise Teen Suicide Awareness
  3. Bond-building Couch Co-Op Video Games
  4. Our Degree of Immersion Online Impacts Our Ability to be a Dad
  5. Quality Family Time is Good Medicine
  6. Preparing Our Kids for Life, Protects Them for Life

Not only is technology a terrible baby-sitter, when it’s marketed as a toy, tech outlives its usefulness.

The platforms offer a false sense of reward, like cheese dangling before an obedient rat.

As Oxford University’s James Williams told the BBC, there’s nothing social about social media,

“At the end of the end of the day, they’re advertising systems.”

Social Media and Poor Socialisation

I think, by now, it’s self-evident that the degree of immersion online negatively impacts relationships offline.

Our degree of immersion in a fabricated world made of pixels, will impact our presence in the only world that matters.

This is why the U.S Surgeon General’s report is so significant.

Murthy is bucking a trend by breaking the silence.

The benefits of the technology aside. (Such as, improved work-life balance, co-op couch time gaming with kids, having good advice on tap, and its ability to unite families.)

More often than not, the very tool touted by its makers as connecting communities, is the tool disconnecting people from their communities.

For example, the U.S advisory explained,

“In certain tragic cases, childhood deaths have been linked to suicide- self-harm-related content, and risk-taking challenges on social media platforms.”

“Social media may also perpetuate body dissatisfaction, disordered eating behaviours, social comparison, and low self-esteem, especially among adolescent girls.” (p. 8)

Sydney Watson: Social Media is a Weapon of Mass Distraction

The report vindicates the views of socio-political hawks like Sydney Watson.

In February, the Australian-American journalist identified contrasts between Tik Tok’s Chinese, and Western versions.

For Watson the two versions are as distinct as drugs and spinach.

The CCP fattens up Western kids with fast-food, while they teach their own children to shoot, march, and unravel the mysteries of the cosmos.

Platforming the work of pseudonym writer, Gurwinder, Watson made the argument that social media was a weapon of mass distraction.

In sum, social media looks a lot like social engineering.

Cognitive Ability

Smartphone addiction can shrink the brain’s grey matter, causing, “cognitive impairment such as reduced attention and decreased memory span.”

The U.S National Library of Medicine has labelled this, ‘digital dementia.’

This is an

“umbrella term for the onset of anxiety and depression. The deterioration of memory, attention span, self-esteem, and impulse control (the last of which increases the addiction).”

Cognitive impairment from content overexposure can also “expedite early-onset dementia.”

Big tech would be aware of these findings.

Just as they know the power of behavioural science and dopamine.

Both of which can be used to trigger psychological addictions, keeping kids online, indoors, and out of tune with offline society.

The U.S. Surgeon General’s 2023 advice lines up with first-hand experience, and ongoing research.

“Frequent social media use may be associated with distinct changes in the developing brain”, the HHS document said.

Additionally,

“Adolescent social media use is predictive of a subsequent decrease in life satisfaction.”

Therefore,

“because adolescence is a vulnerable period of brain development, social media exposure during this period warrants additional scrutiny.”

Murthys’ Social Media and Youth Mental Health report concludes with a call to finding a balance between “minimising the harms, while maximising the benefits” of these platforms.

Speaking from my own dad-lens, no smartphones, or social media before graduating high school, is a winning formula.

The current United States Surgeon General appears to agree.

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Photo by Ron Lach.

Published On: June 1st, 20230 CommentsTags: , , ,

About the Author: Rod Lampard

Rod, his wife Jonda, and their five kids are homeschooling veterans. Rod spent 12 years in management at Koorong, has a Bachelor’s Degree in Ministry & Theology, and is a writer for the theological, politically edgy news site Caldron Pool. Rod also writes for the Spectator. Find his personal blog here.

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