Minot-area family, health experts react to Surgeon General’s warning on social media and youth

Minot-area family, health experts react to Surgeon General's warning on social media and youth
Published: Jun. 30, 2023 at 10:45 PM CDT
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MINOT, N.D. (KMOT) - Traveling and downtime come easier in the summer for teens and adolescents.

With this comes more time on social media.

Recently, the Surgeon General handed down a warning regarding the mental health risks involved with social media exposure.

Your News Leader decided to get a mother’s take on it, and spoke with a local psychiatrist and parenting expert to learn more.

For the Baldwins, social media usage is a complex subject.

Sarah Baldwin said it’s not fair to give unlimited access to children whose brains are still developing.

“I struggle as a parent to manage what is socially allowable versus what I want my children to have,” said Sarah.

Sarah’s son Brayden said it all depends on the usage.

“Social media can be good if you’re using it to like keep up with friends and just like do things like that but if you’re doing other things, I feel like it could be really detrimental to people,” said Brayden.

According to the public warning, those spending more than three hours on platforms per day face double the risk of experiencing poor mental health outcomes.

It also says frequent use causes distinct changes in the developing brain.

Areas affected include the amygdala and pre-frontal cortex which controls emotional learning, behavior, and impulse control and more.

“These really are the electronic-engineered version of snack food,” said Dr. Jared Solomon, MD with Trinity Riverside.

Solomon also said says parents should model good behavior and set expectations while limiting use.

He also said spending too much time on these platforms stunts internal growth as well as one’s view of society.

Parenting expert Colleen O’Grady said that parents must be united and clear on expectations when confronting screen time.

She also advised to not make the discussion a battlefield and to talk about it when they’re offline.

“What you want to communicate to the kids is like, “I really want you to have an amazing summer so let’s think of some adventures we can have together,” said O’Grady.

Creating memories in the real world rather than in a virtual one.

The warning has some great information regarding what can be done to solve this crisis.

In the “We Must Take Action: A Way Forward” section, it offers solutions for policymakers, technology companies, parents, and more.

Click here to view the warning.