Surgeon general calls for tobacco-style social media warnings, parental time limits

Calls for a new warning label saw the surgeon general giving social media the tobacco treatment under the favored power grab banner of “an emergency.”

(Video Credit: NBC)

Earning high marks for hypocrisy, the same administration that hired TikTok influencers to peddle propaganda and is awaiting a Supreme Court ruling regarding an alleged censorship campaign with Big Tech now wants to caution parents about the mental health risks related to excessive social media use.

The call from Surgeon General Vivek Murthy included an op-ed published in the New York Times Monday where he asserted, “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,” he added after voicing concern that, “The mental health crisis among young people is an emergency — and social media has emerged as an important contributor.”

“Adolescents who spend more than three hours a day on social media face double the risk of anxiety and depression symptoms, and the average daily use in this age group, as of the summer of 2023, was 4.8 hours,” noted the surgeon general. “Additionally, nearly half of adolescents say social media makes them feel worse about their bodies.”

Appearing on NBC’s “Today” with co-host Savannah Guthrie, Murthy expressed that the number one question parents asked him about “is social media. They wanna know, is this safe for my kids? How should I manage it?”

As it happened, Murthy’s tangent that narrowly grazed the concerns about the ballooning percentage of children purporting to have fallen some ways down the slippery rainbow slope, followed his own reposting of a “Pride” message from Admiral Rachel Levine at the beginning of June.

The assistant secretary for health, who publicly advocated for expanded access to genital mutilation and chemical castration under the flowery language of “gender-affirming care,” stated, “Pride reminds us that we are a strong, resilient, and powerful community that fights hate with love. I am a positive and optimistic person, and I believe that working together, we can create a healthier, better future for all people living in the United States.”

To support his push for a warning label, Murthy wrote in the Times, “Evidence from tobacco labels shows that surgeon general’s warnings can increase awareness and change behavior.”

“While the platforms claim they are making their products safer, Americans need more than words. We need proof…One of the worst things for a parent is to know your children are in danger yet be unable to do anything about it,” he added. “That is how parents tell me they feel when it comes to social media — helpless and alone in the face of toxic content and hidden harms.”

Murthy had previously gone on record suggesting that parents “ban together and say, as a group, we’re not going to allow our kids to use social media until 16 or 17 or 18 or whatever the age is they choose,” as a means to keep them from being “exposed to harm early.”

The surgeon general’s coordinated corporate media callout comes ahead of a decision from the Supreme Court in the case of Murthy v. Missouri over alleged direct communications between the federal government and Big Tech toward the censorship and suppression of content on social media platforms and whether First Amendment rights have been violated.

Reactions to the warning label push were all too skeptical of the motivation as social media users couldn’t help but point out concerning recommendations that originated from the federal level.

Kevin Haggerty

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