Obama applauds ‘sensible’ call for social media youth warnings

Former President Obama praised Surgeon General Vivek Murthy Tuesday for his “sensible” push to require social media platforms to include warning labels about the risks associated with youth mental health.

“I’m glad to see support growing for sensible rules to mitigate the damaging effects of social media on kids’ mental health,” Obama wrote Tuesday on social platform X.

Obama’s post included a link to Murthy’s op-ed, published Monday in The New York Times, in which he called for a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms, similar to those on tobacco and alcohol products.

Murthy, in the Monday op-ed, noted that warning labels on tobacco products can increase awareness of the potential harms and sometimes change users’ behavior.

“It is time to require a surgeon general’s warning label on social media platforms, stating that social media is associated with significant mental health harms for adolescents,” he wrote.

Obama has long been an advocate for raising awareness about and improving mental health in the U.S. He called for a national conversation and greater openness around the issue during the White House-sponsored National Conference on Mental Health in 2013, and his administration’s Affordable Care Act made health care coverage more affordable and accessible for those with mental health concerns.

“Too many Americans who struggle with mental health illnesses are still suffering in silence, rather than seeking help. And we need to see [to] it that men and women who would never hesitate to go see a doctor if they had a broken arm or came down with the flu, that they have that same attitude when it comes to their mental health,” Obama said at the 2013 conference.

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