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Need for action on social media’s impact on mental health- IMO

By Reporter - 20th Jun 2024

The IMO has called for “urgent action” to respond to the “clear threat to the mental health of young people” coming from social media platforms.

US health authorities have recently called for warning labels to be put on social media platforms to warn of the negative impact these platforms have on mental health.

Professor Matthew Sadlier, Chairman of the Consultant Committee of the IMO, said; “The move by the US Surgeon General has profound significance and it reflects the absolute confidence which is now evident across the medical community internationally that these social media platforms present a real danger to users, especially young users”. Prof Sadlier added  that social media companies need to prove safety before launching new products and innovations rather than “governments retrospectively looking for harm”.

The issue of the harm caused by social media featured prominently at the most recent AGM of the IMO in April.

At that event a series of motions were passed calling fora ban on smartphone use by pupils within primary schools and a well-funded public health strategy to combat social media addiction.

Professor Sadlier said, “The evidence is mounting that these platforms pose a real threat to the mental health of young users.” 

“There is an urgent need now to move at pace to protect users from the dangerous, harmful and addictive practices which the owners of these platforms deploy against their users in order to boost their bottom line. Our children will only have one childhood and we need to ensure that it is a safe one.”

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Medical Independent 9th July 2024

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