Surgeon General: 13 is too young for social media

January 31, 2023
Two people holding their phones

I, personally, based on the data I’ve seen, believe that 13 is too early.

United States Surgeon General Vivek Murthy in an interview on CNN Newsroom explaining why he thinks 13 years old is too young for children to join social media.

Why It Matters: Most social media platforms – such as TikTok, Snapchat, and Instagram – require users to be at least 13 years old. Dr. Murthy, who is described as "the Nation's Doctor," explained why he thinks this is too young. He said the "often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many" children, and that they are being pitted "against the world’s greatest product designers” who work to encourage users to spend the maximum amount of time on social media platforms. He called on platforms to provide transparency about their products' impact on kids, and for safety standards to be implemented similar to how other products used must meet certain safety standards.

  • Dr. Murthy did not indicate if there will be any official guidelines or advisory put in place based on his perspective.
  • Something To Consider: A 2022 Pew Research study found that nearly 50% of teens report using the internet "almost constantly." Out of those surveyed, 95% of teens use YouTube, 67% use TikTok, and 62% use Instagram.
  • Note: The U.S. Surgeon General's intended role is to communicate "the best scientific information available" on how to improve Americans' health and reduce risk of injury and illness (U.S. Dept. of Health & Human Services). U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is a doctor, research scientist, entrepreneur, and author. Read his full bio HERE.

Surgeon General says 13 is ‘too early’ to join social media (CNN Newsroom)

US Surgeon General says 13-year-olds are too young to be on social media (Good Morning America)

by Jenna Lee,