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IMO consultant chair calls for public health warning for social media

By Reporter - 05th Apr 2024

Social media should be classed as a public health risk similar to cigarettes and alcohol, the chair of the Consultant Committee of the IMO has warned.

Speaking at the IMO AGM in Killarney, Co Kerry, Consultant Psychiatrist, Professor Matthew Sadlier called for public health warnings for social media.

“There is overwhelming evidence that excessive social media use does lead to greater levels of negative wellbeing and mental health issues,” said Prof Sadlier. “The Surgeon General in the US has already issued a public health warning about social media; it is imperative that we in Ireland follow suit.”
However, he said that did not believe that social media should be banned.

“Moderate levels of social media use, for example, from a half hour to an hour a day, do not appear to have a negative impact on people. However, a British study from 2019 estimates that 20 per cent of adolescents may use social media for at least five hours daily.”

Professor Sadlier, is speaking at a panel discussion entitled ‘The Dark Side of Social Media’ at the IMO AGM tomorrow (Saturday).

He added that a 2017 study from the UK showed that a greater percentage of 16–24-year-olds said they were lonely compared with over-75s.

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