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Dr. Jerome Adams talks about age 13 being ‘too early’ to join social media

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Is 13 too young for children to join social media?

“It’s tough. Thirteen is not a magic number for phones or social media just like 16 isn’t a magic number for driving, but here are some things that I want parents to think about,” says Dr. Jerome Adams, the WISH-TV medical expert and a former U.S. surgeon general.

Adams said on News 8 on Wednesday that “your child should understand the outcomes and consequences, they should know that when they post something online it’s going to be out there forever. If they cannot grasp that, then they are not ready for social media.”

Children should be mentally healthy before going on social media. “If they are anxious or depressed, going on social media is not going to make that any better. It’s only going to make it worse.

Adams says communication is very important when children have access to the web. “The most important thing is that you and your child need to be able to agree to open communication. If they are encountering an online predictor or online bullying or inappropriate content, you need to have a relationship with them and an understanding that they are going to come to you and talk about it.”

COVID emergency ending

President Joe Biden announced his plan to end the COVID national and public health emergencies on May 11. What would be some changes Americans could see?

“The most important change is that the free stuff is going to go away. When I say free stuff: free tests, free treatments, free masks, and potentially free vaccines could go away. … Also, things that folks might not think about. Under the emergency, we had a 7,000% increase in telehealth and that allowed us to do many things with the mental health space even to prescribe opioid treatment over the phone. Those authorities may go away, and there are medical countermeasures that are under emergency use authorization. What happens when that emergency authorization goes away? We have to make sure the countermeasures can still be deployed if we see another surge coming again before or after May 11,” Adams said.

Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.