NYC health officials recommend keeping children under 14 off social networks

A month ago, New York City filed a formal complaint against the five largest social media platforms: TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and YouTube Before the Supreme Court of California, to hold these technology giants accountable for being part of the blame for the mental health crisis facing children, teens and youth in the Big Apple.

A series of similar lawsuits have been brought Parent and representative organizations in other states and cities.

Now municipal officials, beyond judicial actions, are contacting ethnic and community media, Setting up a powerful megaphone in all neighborhoods to shout about the need to analyze the role of families in monitoring young people’s exposure to these platforms. and establish some recommendations how and when Use of these technologies should be started.

“There is scientific evidence of the importance of certain content on social networks, In emotional and brain development. Now is the time that, as a community, we send the prevention message, Just like it is done with any other disease. This does not mean that we expect this technology to go away. The challenge is that it can be used without causing greater mental health disorders,” explained Dr. Ashwin Vasan, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) at a roundtable meeting before representatives of ethnic media.

specific “recipe”

Based on available research, the town’s chief doctor has a “recipe” that he wants to scale up and promote as much as possible in all communities: Prevent children under 14 from indiscriminate exposure to social networks, tablets or smartphones!

This is Ashwin’s argument Between the ages of eight and 14 it is known that humans are in the process of neurological development, When personality, the concept of risk and sensitivity towards others are formed.

“Those are very important stages. That’s why we recommend in our public health notice that anyone under the age of 14 avoids exposure to these social platforms as much as possible. Now is the time to consider this issue as a family. This is a mental health issue. “This is not fashion.” said the DOHMH Commissioner.

This advice becomes even more stringent in New York City, when coincidentally The state of Florida passed a law prohibiting anyone under the age of 16 from entering that facility, Have accounts on some social media platforms.

The law, called HB1, or Protecting Minors on the Internet, would force some social media platforms to verify the age of account holders. Will prevent minors under 16 years of age from creating a new account And if they believe they are under 16 they will cancel their accounts.

More networks, more suicidal thoughts

According to a social media notice presented by DOHMH, youth mental health in New York City, It has been getting worse for more than a decade.

In 2021, 38% of high school students in the city reported feeling very sad or depressed compared to the previous year. who gave up their normal activities, compared to 27% in 2011.

The rate of suicidal ideation also increased by approximately One in 10 students in the Big Apple reported a suicide attempt last year in 2021.

But among these worrying figures, the chapter that attracts the most attention is this. That is, “at the same time, the use of social networks increased.”

For health officials of the Big Apple, the conclusion is that, after months of analysis, the social network They can distort body image, damage self-esteem and invite addiction.

for its part, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom Those who attended the roundtable said the municipal administration will continue to structure networks to support For families while browsing these platforms.

“As a mother and as a New Yorker, we think that in addition to legal and regulatory measures, We must expand more actions to educate parents about the harmful effects of these networks, We’ve seen what’s happened with the digital challenges of navigating the subway. But this is just an example. running these platforms Bullying, harmful comparisons to others, and misinformation“, he concluded.

the figure:

  • 77% of New York City high school students admitted in a 2021 survey that they are spending three or more hours per day In front of their phone screen.

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