ST. LOUIS – The U.S. Surgeon General’s Office released an advisory Tuesday about the growing concerns surrounding the impacts of social media on kids.

Screen time in the U.S. is a hot topic, and the Surgeon General’s report said advisories are reserved for significant public health challenges that require immediate action. 

“A lot of these things collide. It’s from not feeling accepted, and it’s on social media, and they don’t feel accepted, or they are excluded, and it just all can start snowballing,” said Tina Meier with the Megan Meier Foundation.

Meier urged parents to read the Surgeon General’s report. The study shows 95% of 13- to 17-year-olds use social media. Almost 75% of youth said social media sites are doing a fair to poor job of addressing cyberbullying. It also shows that when it comes to body image, nearly half of social media posts make people feel worse.

“Since the pandemic, we have had a 565 percent increase in counseling, and so it is huge,” Meier said. “We are seeing usually the summer kind of tapers down, but we are actually getting calls daily from parents who are worried about their kids over the summer.” 

She said the effects are felt across all ages.

“Just for a moment, think about, have you ever compared yourself to somebody else?” Meier said. “You’ve sat there and thought, man, I am not keeping up. All these people are ahead of me. If you have that feeling as an adult, these teens have, but it’s 10-fold because their brains are not fully developed.”

The report also shows the age requirement is 13 for most social media sites, but roughly 40% of 8- to 12-year-olds use social media. 

To read the full report, click here