Tag: media

Surgeon General Issues New Advisory About Effects Social Media Use Has on Youth Mental Health

Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy Urges Action to Ensure Social Media Environments are Healthy and Safe, as Previously-Advised National Youth Mental Health Crisis Continues

Today, United States Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released a new Surgeon General’s Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health. While social media may offer some benefits, there are ample indicators that social media can also pose a risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents. Social media use by young people is nearly universal, with up to 95% of young people ages 13-17 reporting using a social media platform and more than a third saying they use social media “almost constantly.”

With adolescence and childhood representing a critical stage in brain development that can make young people more vulnerable to harms from social media, the Surgeon General is issuing a call for urgent action by policymakers, technology companies, researchers, families, and young people alike to gain a better understanding of the full impact of social media use, maximize the benefits and minimize the harms of social media platforms, and create safer, healthier online environments to protect children. The Surgeon General’s Advisory is a part of the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) ongoing efforts to support President Joe Biden’s whole-of-government strategy to transform mental health care for all Americans.

“The most common question parents ask me is, ‘is social media safe for my kids’. The answer is that we don’t have enough evidence to say it’s safe, and in fact, there is growing evidence that social media use is associated with harm to young people’s mental health,” said U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. “Children are exposed to harmful content on social media, ranging from violent and sexual content, to bullying and harassment. And for too

Sharing on parenting: Getting advice through social media

Parents of young children often have questions about how to care for their child. The C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health asked a national sample of parents of children 0-4 years about using social media to share parenting ideas.

Most parents of young children (80%) say they use social media to discuss parenting topics. More mothers than fathers use social media to look for parenting advice or information (84% vs 69%) or share their experiences (63% vs 42%). Parents report using social media to learn about or discuss toilet training (44%), getting kids to sleep (42%), nutrition/breastfeeding (37%), discipline (37%), behavior problems (33%), vaccination (26%), daycare/preschool (24%), and getting along with other kids (21%).

Parents say they discuss these topics on social media because they want to hear different ideas (62%), it’s convenient (27%), they want to do things differently than their parents (25%), they don’t have family/friends nearby (9%), they don’t have enough opportunities to ask their child’s healthcare provider (7%), or they are too embarrassed to ask in person (5%). Parents rate social media as very useful for getting new ideas to try (44%), making them feel like they’re not alone (37%), learning what not to do (33%), deciding whether to buy certain products (25%) or when to take their child to the doctor (11%), and helping them worry less (16%).

Most parents (72%) identify at least one aspect of social media sharing that concerns them, such as seeing other parents doing things that are unhealthy or dangerous for their child (43%), difficulty distinguishing good vs bad advice (40%), others finding out their family’s private information (38%) or sharing photos of their child without their child’s permission (31%). Many feel other parents overshare on social media by bragging about their child (77%), sharing too often

Kylie Jenner on Motherhood, Social Media, and Her New Clothing Line

As the first of her family members to start a successful brand (and become the second most-followed woman on Instagram), Kylie Jenner is a testament to the power of business savvy in the age of the internet. The reality star and beauty entrepreneur beloved for her relatability and robust pout has always blazed her own trail, often with a handy assist from her momager Kris, from launching lip kits at the ripe age of 18 to defying all expectations and becoming a widely-reported billionaire. Now, she’s sort of charting new territory: designing a clothing line—this time, all on her own. (Jenner previously launched the fashion brand Kendall & Kylie with her sister at PacSun in 2013.) Her latest venture, Khy, a riff on her nickname, is a collection of affordable high-fashion pieces that hopes to redefine the modern wardrobe with inclusive sizing and an accessible price point, while offering a fresh take on quiet luxury. Ahead of Khy’s official launch, we talked with Jenner about her eponymous label, trends she avoids, and matching with her daughter, Stormi.

Why did you decide to start a fashion line?

I felt like it was the perfect time [in my life]. I was having kids, and it’s always been a dream of mine to have a fashion line, especially one like this.

Is it different from or similar to helming a beauty brand?

You know what, it’s been really similar [so far]. For me, fashion and beauty really go together. My makeup and hair are important to every piece that I put on my body, and I really think it could make or break a look. You can take a simple black dress or a simple faux leather mini to another level. I creative direct Kylie Cosmetics, and I’ve been doing the same thing

Experts concerned over ‘pseudoscience’ on social media

A concerned woman checks her smart phone while standing in a streetShare on Pinterest
Experts say mental health advice on social media platforms should be scrutinized carefully. Ivan Pantic/Getty Images
  • Online social platforms have increased visibility and discussion around mental health topics.
  • Not all mental health information shared online is necessarily accurate, evidence-based, or even well-intentioned.
  • Experts say people with mental health issues may be especially vulnerable to this type of messaging.

Anyone can create a TikTok account.

For the purposes of staying connected with friends and family, this can be a simple and effective tool.

However, as you might expect — or may have already experienced firsthand — this also means that not everything shared on TikTok is based in fact.

The same applies to other popular social platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and X (formerly known as Twitter).

In a new book edited by Jonathan N. Stea and Stephen Hupp, a panel of professionals examines the potential dangers of seeking mental health advice and treatments online, and in particular on social media platforms and celebrity sites.

What are the specific dangers, and what can be done to avert them? Here’s what experts have to say.

“I use TikTok and often witness mental health issues being shared and discussed on the platform,” Andrea Tarantella, LPC, NCC, a counselor with ADHD Advisor who was not involved in the book, told Medical News Today.

“I see anecdotal advice and personal experiences being shared that often oversimplify how complex mental health issues are. Individuals then self-diagnose with conditions such as ADHD and autism in the comments section, simply relying on one personal experience posted by the content creator,” said Tarantella.

While personal anecdotes certainly have the potential to be true, experts say they shouldn’t be applied broadly or mistaken as definitive.

Experts also caution against content that promotes immediate results

Are exposure to health information and media health literacy associated with fruit and vegetable consumption? | BMC Public Health

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  • Helping youth harness the power of social media: Initiative teaches young Canadians how to create evidence-based health content

    The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the potential of social media to quickly disseminate health information to vast online communities, impacting health decisions, participation in health systems and, consequently, the health of entire populations.

    Never-ending streams of online posts, tweets and videos sharing health-focused information resulted in a co-occurring “infodemic,” overwhelming the public with a combination of accurate information and harmful misinformation.

    When considering daily social media consumption, Statistics Canada estimates that 15- to 34-year-old Canadians are the highest active user group on social media. Moreover, “viral” spread or waves of online engagement are often tied to online trends or influencers. From the 2018 Tide Pod challenge to the most recent Nyquil Chicken Challenge, trends quickly spread and can pose physical, mental and even destructive health consequences.

    As online trends continue to perpetuate misinformation, these trends can lead to particularly harmful consequences in marginalized communities. Many Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) communities continue to struggle with stressors relating to painful histories of exploitation, including medical experimentation, that can result in mistrust or skepticism of health-care systems. Furthermore, many BIPOC communities face an additional hurdle as the ingrained racism linked to colonialism within our health-care system impacts the delivery of health care and health information. Most existing online health information is Anglocentric, Eurocentric, text-heavy and based on the priorities of health-care providers. Likewise, online myth busting of health misinformation is available primarily on English platforms and spaces.

    As such, there is a great need for health information to be tailored and adapted to the priorities of BIPOC communities. Thus, the Our Kids’ Health (OKH) network was established to create reliable resources and information for children, youth and caregivers across 10 different cultural-linguistic channels. Using an equity and diversity lens, social media content shared by OKH spans the

    Should we get our health advice from social media?

    In the office of a private gynaecologist in central London, I nervously waited for my appointment, wondering what had brought me to this point. Even though I was a healthy 27-year-old woman with no family history of fertility concerns, I was terrified about my ability to have a child. I’d forked out for private scans, which thankfully came back clear. But part of me was baffled: something had to be wrong. After all, according to multiple Instagram Reels, I have many symptoms of PCOS, which can lead to infertility.

    When Covid-19 hit our social-media feeds, we were all encouraged not to take scaremongering Facebook posts from our aunt’s friend’s sister at face value, and instead consult the World Health Organisation (WHO) for reliable health information. We were warned to question what we read online and to fact-check articles before sharing clickbait headlines, but social media nonetheless exploded with more health content than ever before. These days, health advice is a commonplace part of the social media experience.

    preview for Vanessa Kirby: Inside my beauty bag

    Stories of others’ misfortune are constantly available to us, from sepsis as a result of a common UTI, to horrific allergic reactions to gel manicures. A readily available source that can help us to identify troubling symptoms does have its benefits, but how much is the information we find on social media a hindrance, as well as a help?

    It depends where it comes from, according to Jordan Vyas-Lee, psychotherapist and co-founder of mental-health care clinic, Kove. “Social media is not a good source of medical information,” he explains. “What we read on social media comes with no guarantee of validity, since information can be shared by non-experts, which is not then moderated. The issue with health videos on social media is

    TikTok’s Medical Mythbuster on using social media to fight health inequities

    Editor’s note: The opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the AAMC or its members.

    In January 2021, Kwame [not his real name] was diagnosed with COVID-19, just like many other people. Within a few days, his condition worsened significantly: His fever continued to rise, he experienced increasing shortness of breath, and his muscles ached persistently. With no relief in sight, he eventually sought medical attention at an emergency department (ED) in Oakland, California.

    At the ED, medical personnel ran a variety of tests, including one that measured his blood oxygen saturation levels, a key metric for diagnosing the severity of a COVID-19 infection. The test used a pulse oximeter, a small device that clips onto your finger and measures how much oxygen your red blood cells are carrying. When his test results came back, doctors told Kwame that he was a fit, healthy young man and that he would recover just fine. They encouraged him to go home and rest.

    But he refused.

    A few weeks before, Kwame had seen a video on social media suggesting that pulse oximeters don’t always work well on darker skin tones. In between gasps for air, he tried to recount to the doctors what he had learned: Because of its increased melanin, darker skin absorbs more infrared light from pulse oximeters, causing Black patients to be three times as likely to have overestimated oxygen saturation levels.

    Kwame’s doctors listened to his concerns and ended up admitting him to the hospital. It was good that they did. Before the end of the day, his condition worsened, and he was transferred to the intensive care unit. Fortunately, he was intubated and received the supplemental oxygen he needed to recover. Had it not been for a single social media post, however,

    Teens’ social media use should be monitored by parents, APA says : Shots

    There’s growing evidence that social media use can contribute to mental health issues among teens. A new health advisory suggests ways to protect them.

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    There’s growing evidence that social media use can contribute to mental health issues among teens. A new health advisory suggests ways to protect them.

    martin-dm/Getty Images

    For the first time, the American Psychological Association has issued recommendations for guiding teenager’s use of social media. The advisory, released Tuesday, is aimed at teens, parents, teachers and policy makers.

    This comes at a time when teenagers are facing high rates of depression, anxiety and loneliness. And, as NPR has reported, there’s mounting evidence that social media can exacerbate and even cause these problems.

    “Right now, I think the country is struggling with what we do around social media,” says Dr. Arthur Evans, CEO of the APA. The report, he says, marshals the latest science about social media to arm people “with the information that they need to be good parents and to be good policy makers in this area.”

    The 10 recommendations in the report summarize recent scientific findings and advise actions, primarily by parents, such as monitoring teens’ feeds and training them in social media literacy, even before they begin using these platforms.

    But some therapists and clinicians say the recommendations place too much of the burden on parents. To implement this guidance requires cooperation from the tech companies and possibly regulators.

    “We’re in a crisis here and a family’s ability or a parent’s ability to manage this right now is very limited,” says Robert Keane, a therapist at Walden Behavioral Care, an inpatient facility that helps teens with eating disorders. “Families really need help.”

    Screening, monitoring and training

    While social media can provide opportunities for staying connected,

    Health advisory on social media use in adolescence

    A. Using social media is not inherently beneficial or harmful to young people. Adolescents’ lives online both reflect and impact their offline lives. In most cases, the effects of social media are dependent on adolescents’ own personal and psychological characteristics and social circumstances—intersecting with the specific content, features, or functions that are afforded within many social media platforms. In other words, the effects of social media likely depend on what teens can do and see online, teens’ preexisting strengths or vulnerabilities, and the contexts in which they grow up.3

    B. Adolescents’ experiences online are affected by both 1) how they shape their own social media experiences (e.g., they choose whom to like and follow); and 2) both visible and unknown features built into social media platforms.

    C. Not all findings apply equally to all youth. Scientific findings offer one piece of information that can be used along with knowledge of specific youths’ strengths, weaknesses, and context to make decisions that are tailored for each teen, family, and community.4

    D. Adolescent development is gradual and continuous, beginning with biological and neurological changes occurring before puberty is observable (i.e., approximately beginning at 10 years of age), and lasting at least until dramatic changes in youths’ social environment (e.g., peer, family, and school context) and neurological changes have completed (i.e., until approximately 25 years of age).5 Age-appropriate use of social media should be based on each adolescent’s level of maturity (e.g., self-regulation skills, intellectual development, comprehension of risks) and home environment.6 Because adolescents mature at different rates, and because there are no data available to indicate that children become unaffected by the potential risks and opportunities posed by social media usage at a specific age, research is in development to specify a single time or age point for many

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