JED’s POV: We Must Act Now to Protect Transgender Youth
LGBTQIA+ youth are under attack across the nation. Legislators are taking away their rights and seeking to invalidate their identities. Violence against transgender communities is ...
As part of his ongoing and comprehensive initiative to support the well-being and mental health of our nation’s youth, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy released an advisory stating that we “do not yet have enough evidence to determine if social media is sufficiently safe for children and adolescents,” calling on the nation to apply a “safety first” approach to online platforms just as we do to medications, toys, and cars.
JED’s mission is to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults and fully supports the Surgeon General’s recommendations as well as additional steps policymakers, technology leaders, and youth-serving institutions can take right now to safeguard young people.
Social media offers powerful ways for youth to find connection; the advisory includes research showing that these platforms can help marginalized groups, including LGBTQ youth and girls of color, find identity-affirming support. The report states that “there are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents” and “may be associated with distinct changes in the developing brain.”
Although the report calls for continued research, data reveals that:
Until now, the burden of protecting adolescents and teens online has fallen almost entirely on young people and their caregivers. It is time now, says the Surgeon General, for policymakers and technology companies to assume that burden.
The Jed Foundation supports the Surgeon General’s recommendations, which include asking:
JED also urges:
JED is dedicated to supporting teens and young adults to create lives that feel balanced and healthy on– and off-line and working with high schools and preK-12 school districts to help them educate and empower students to make social media work for—and not against—them. JED will continue to offer expertise and resources to leaders in the technology industry and policymakers committed to decisively responding to the Surgeon General’s advisory.
Additional resources for creating a healthy relationship with social media are available in JED’s Mental Health Resource Center.
If you or someone you know needs to talk to someone right now, text, call, or chat 988 for a free confidential conversation with a trained counselor 24/7.
You can also contact the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741-741.
If this is a medical emergency or if there is immediate danger of harm, call 911 and explain that you need support for a mental health crisis.