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US top health official sounds alarm on social media use by kids and adolescents

WASHINGTON – Social media can profoundly harm the mental health of young people, particularly adolescent girls, the United States Surgeon-General warned in an advisory on Tuesday, as he called for safeguards against tech companies for children who are at critical stages of brain development.

US Surgeon-General Vivek Murthy said that while social media offers some benefits, there are “ample indicators that social media could also harm children’s well-being”.

“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,” Dr Murthy said.

Social media use may cause and perpetuate body image issues, affect eating behaviours and sleep quality, and lead to social comparison and low self-esteem, especially among adolescent girls, the advisory said, citing responses from a survey conducted among adolescents.

Adolescents who spend more than three

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