US Surgeon General calls for requiring a warning label on social media platforms

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is calling for mandating inclusion of a warning label on social media platforms.

“It is time to require a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms, stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents. A surgeon general’s warning label, which requires congressional action, would regularly remind parents and adolescents that social media has not been proved safe,” Murthy wrote in an opinion piece.

‘These harms are not a failure of willpower and parenting;’

“Why is it that we have failed to respond to the harms of social media when they are no less urgent or widespread than those posed by unsafe cars, planes or food? These harms are not a failure of willpower and parenting; they are the consequence of unleashing powerful technology without adequate safety measures, transparency or accountability,” Murthy wrote.

In a post that included the link to Murthy’s essay, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas said, “The Surgeon General’s diagnosis, paired with @SenBrianSchatz’s and my bipartisan legislation, the Kids Off Social Media Act … offers a strong prescription to mitigate the dangers facing America’s youth.”

The proposed legislation Cruz referenced includes a provision to prohibit social media companies from allowing children younger than 13 to have an account.

Democratic Rep. Mark DeSaulnier of California expressed support for Murthy’s proposal.

“As a longtime mental health advocate, I support @Surgeon_General’s recommendation that social media platforms, which negatively affect teens’ mental health, be given a warning label just like we’ve employed for other public health threats like tobacco and alcohol,” DeSaulnier said in a post.

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