Image source: Miramar
Teenagers:Social media has significantly impacted peoples’ daily lives in the digital era.
Millennials, who have grown up with technology and helped shape the online world, make up the majority of users.
Experts have highlighted the fact that Gen Zs, on the other hand, are maturing and beginning to utilize social media as early as 13 year old teenagers.
Finding their identity
According to US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, children should not create profiles on social networking sites until they are 13 years old.
Although many websites allow teenagers that age to sign up, Murthy underlined that they are still merely trying to figure things out for themselves.
Those who are 13 years old can register for the following social networking sites:
“I, personally, based on the data I’ve seen, believe that 13 is too early,” said Murthy.
“It’s a time where it’s really important for us to be thoughtful about what’s going into how they think about their own self-worth and their relationship and the skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many of those children.”
Medical professionals are concerned about the widespread use of social media among teenagers.
They underlined a number of academic research into the potential harm that the platforms can do to teenagers.
Vivek Murthy understood that given the popularity of social media platforms, it would be challenging to keep teens off of them.
However, if they present a united front, parents might pull it off.
“If parents can band together and say you know, as a group, we’re not going to allow our kids to use social media until 16 or 17 or 18 or whatever age they choose,” he offered.
“That’s a much more effective strategy in making sure your kids don’t get exposed to harm early.”
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Recent research has indicated that teenagers who use social media frequently experience alterations in their brain chemistry.
In some parts of their brains, teenagers who often check social media show enhanced neuronal sensitivity, according to a study that was published in January by JAMA Pediatrics.
As a result, their brains are more sensitive to social consequences.
The issue has been brought up throughout the years by psychiatrist Dr. Adriana Stacey and her peers.
According to Stacey, who mostly works with college students and teenagers, accessing social media results in a “dopamine dump.”
“When we do things that are addictive like use cocaine or use smartphones, our brains release a lot of dopamine at once,” she said. “It tells our break to keep using that.”
“For teenagers in particular, this part of their brain is actually hyperactive compared to adults. They can’t get motivated to do anything else.”
According to new findings, spending more time in front of a screen may have an impact on brain development.
For instance, more screen time was strongly correlated with younger children’s less advanced literacy and language skills.
Senator Chris Murphy, a Democrat, has added to concerns about social media.
He recently wrote an opinion piece for Bulwark in which he addressed loneliness and mental health, echoing Murthy’s reservations about social media.
“We have lost something as a society, as so much of our life has turned into screen-to-screen communication,” said Murphy.
“It just doesn’t give you the same sense of value and the same sense of satisfaction as talking to somebody or seeing someone.”
Both the senator and the surgeon general have firsthand knowledge of the effects of social media addiction.
Chris Murphy and Vivek Murthy are both fathers; Murphy has teenagers, while Vivek has young children.
“It’s not coincidental that Dr. Murthy and I are probably talking more about this issue of loneliness more than others in public life,” said Murphy.
“I look at this through the prism of my 14-year-old and my 11-year-old.”
Chris Murphy continued by saying that despite facing Big Tech, the US is not a helpless country.
He believes that authorities could implement a variety of measures to stop teenagers from accessing social media, while encouraging companies to create an algorithm that is less addictive.
Murthy addressed the issue of addictive algorithms, asserting that teenagers and Big Tech aren’t engaged in a fair conflict.
“You have some of the best designers and product developers in the world who have designed these products to make sure people are maximizing the amount of time they spend on these platforms,” said the surgeon general.
“And if we tell a child, use the force of your willpower to control how much time you’re spending, you’re pitting a child against the world’s greatest product designers.”
Despite the challenges, Chris Murphy is optimistic about the future of social media.
“None of this is out of our control. When we had dangerous vehicles on the road, we passed laws to make those vehicles less dangerous,” he said.
“We should make decisions to make [social media] a healthier experience that would make kids feel better about themselves and less alone.”