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What did fmr. US surgeon general and WISH med. expert say about teen’s mental health

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — How dangerous is social media for teens?

It’s a question people are asking after U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy issued an advisory Tuesday that says there’s not enough evidence to determine whether social media is safe enough for children and adolescents when it comes to their mental health.

Dr. Jerome Adams, the WISH-TV medical expert and a former U.S. surgeon general, addressed the matter on Friday’s News 8 at 5 p.m.

“We know that we are in the midst of a mental health crisis nationally, and it’s particularly pronounced for our young people,” Adams said. “What we’ve found in what Dr. Murphy points out in that study is that social media is a big precipitant of these mental health issues.

“If you spend more than three hours on social media as a young person every day, you are twice as likely to have anxiety and depressive symptoms, and they’ve actually found that if you decrease your social media usage, it can significantly lower your depression and anxiety symptoms.

“So this is a factor that is really having an impact on our youth. It’s both content they’re being exposed to, sexual content to violent content, but also being pressured to keep up with the Joneses, if you will, and it’s also addictive behavior. It’s problematic usage.

“Young people say they can’t stop using. So, knowing this, should social media use be part of the discussion with pediatricians. Absolutely.”

Adams noted that the report from Murphy’s office also includes tips for families, doctors and the technology experts.

The former surgeon general added, “As adults, we should model responsible social media behavior and we should teach kids about technology and empower them to be responsible online users. I often say this is a tool just like a hammer. It can help you build a house or it can harm you. We want children to be able to use social media in a productive way.”

New COVID study

About 10% of people appear to suffer long COVID after an omicron infection, a lower estimate than earlier in the pandemic, according to a study of nearly 10,000 Americans that aims to help unravel the mysterious condition. The new research was published Thursday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Adams says that prior to omicron, the rate of long COVID after an infection was about 33%.

The new study, Adams says, omicron is not having as profound an effect on Americans are previous variants.

Adams also repeated his advice for people to be vaccinated against COVID and to keep vaccinations updated.

Health Spotlight is presented by Community Health Network.