US Surgeon General Calls for Social Media Warning Labels

US Surgeon General Calls for Social Media Warning Labels
Above: Dr. Vivek H. Murthy speaks onstage at The Archewell Foundation Parents’ Summit: Mental Wellness in the Digital Age during Project Healthy Minds' World Mental Health Day Festival 2023 at Hudson Yards on October 10, 2023 in New York City. Image copyright: Bryan Bedder/Stringer/Getty Images Entertainment for Project Health Minds via Getty Images

The Facts

  • US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has called on Congress to add warning labels to social media platforms, similar to the ones on cigarettes and alcohol, due to their reported adverse impact on adolescents.

  • In an op-ed in The New York Times on Monday, Murthy warned that "social media has emerged as an important contributor" to the mental health crisis among young Americans.

The Spin

Narrative A

Despite social media platforms establishing age minimums, nearly 40% of kids aged 8-12 and 95% aged 13-17 use social media in the US. If a government label will inspire better communication between parents and their wards, they should be added to the platforms. Children must be better protected.

Narrative B

There's no reason to add a warning label to these platforms since there's no evidence that social media considerably impacts teenagers' mental health. Children's mental health issues are more often related to socio-economic factors than social media use itself. The focus must be on how social media is used rather than just the time spent.

Metaculus Prediction

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