Social Media needs warning labels, contributing to teenage mental health crisis says US Surgeon General

US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy wants to see warning labels akin to cigarettes on social media. You know, for kids!

I think children tend to be a lot more savvy about social media than adults, but warning labels certainly can't hurt something that seems to be doing little to help anyone. It'd be awesome to see more labels on individual pieces of content for the easily duped. YouTube has announced it is going to trial a "Notes" function to allow "the community" to turn a spotlight on bullshit.

"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 said. "Evidence from tobacco studies show that warning labels can increase awareness and change behavior."

Murthy said that the use of just a warning label wouldn't make social media safe for young people, but would be a part of the steps needed.

Social media use is prevalent among young people, with up to 95% of youth ages 13 to 17 saying that they use a social media platform, and more than a third saying that they use social media "almost constantly," according to 2022 data from the Pew Research Center.

"Social media today is like tobacco decades ago: It's a product whose business model depends on addicting kids. And as with cigarettes, a surgeon general's warning label is a critical step toward mitigating the threat to children," Josh Golin, executive director at Fairplay, an organization that is dedicated to ending marketing to children, said in a statement.