A Tobacco-Style Warning for Social Media Won’t Be Enough to Protect Teens

U.S. teens spend an average of 4.8 hours a day on social media, according to a Gallup poll. The recent call by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy to add a warning label to social media platforms highlights the mental health risks associated with excessive use. While warning labels may raise awareness, parents play a crucial role in safeguarding their children. Here’s what parents need to do:

1. Engage in Open Conversations

Talk to your children about social media’s pros and cons. Discuss cyberbullying, time management, and the impact of curated online content on self-esteem. Encourage them to share their experiences and feelings.

2. Set Boundaries

Limit screen time and encourage offline activities. Create tech-free zones during meals and bedtime. Teach responsible digital citizenship and model healthy behavior.

3. Monitor and Educate

Stay informed about the platforms your children use. Understand privacy settings, filters, and reporting mechanisms. Educate them about the risks and how to respond to harmful content.

Remember, while warning labels are a step in the right direction, parental involvement remains essential in promoting safe and balanced social media use.

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