Surgeon General: 13 Is Too Young for Children To Use Social Media
Most major platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, generally restrict their apps to users 13 or older.
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is advising parents to be cautious about when they let their children join social media platforms. Most major platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, generally restrict their apps to users 13 or older.
But in a new interview with “CNN Newsroom,” Murthy went even further, saying he hopes parents will consider limiting their children’s social media footprints until they are 16 or older.
“I, personally, based on the data I’ve seen, believe that 13 is too early,” Murthy said. He added, “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.”
“If parents can band together and say, you know, 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,” he continued.
The surgeon general’s (unofficial) warning comes as researchers continue to probe the connections between young people’s social media usage and their mental health and brain development.
“There is a substantial link to depression, and that link tends to be stronger among girls,” Jean Twenge, a psychology professor at San Diego State University and expert on the subject, told Axios earlier this month.
One study conducted in North Carolina found that young teenagers who check their social media more than 15 times per day could experience changes to their long-term brain development, becoming “hypersensitive” to peer feedback.