Everyone is on social media so it can’t be that damaging…right? Several organizations, however are concerned about long term mental health ramifications. The NHS even released the following article about the possible damages and what they feel needs to be done on the part of Facebook and Instagram to help compensate.
Facebook and Instagram should be forced to fund treatment of mental health problems because of the damage caused by social media, the head of the NHS has suggested.
Simon Stevens said the Government should consider introducing a “mental health levy” to fund NHS treatment of problems fueled by such websites. It follows concern that levels of anxiety, distress and depression among children and teenagers are reaching epidemic levels, with one in five teenage girls self-harming.
Mr. Stevens told a global summit that there was a compelling body of evidence demonstrating the damaging impact of social media on children, which appears to be fueling rising admissions to mental health services.
He urged ministers to consider placing a tax on social media giants – to fund treatment of such problems – in the same way that banks and betting firms pay a levy to “offset” the harm they can cause.
The father-of-two also paid tribute to The Daily Telegraph’s “duty of care” campaign calling for more stringent regulation of social media sites, in order to protect children from harm.
Mr. Stevens said: “Social media firms have a duty of care to their customers and need to step up to the plate to protect people’s mental health.
“The Telegraph’s campaign has helped to shine a light on the links between technology and health, an issue which mental health professionals increasingly report is having a real and detrimental impact on families.”
Speaking at the Global Ministerial Mental Health Summit in London, he said Government action was needed to tackle the factors contributing to mental ill health.
“Although it’s not fully developed, there’s widespread acceptance that overuse of these platforms can have a detrimental effect on children and young people,” he said.
“Mental health services, particularly for young people, are reporting an increased number of admissions linked to use of social media and some companies themselves are starting to recognise this.”
While individual companies have taken some steps to reduce use of services among young children – such as messaging service Whatsapp, which has raised the minimum age of use from 13 to 16 – far more robust action is required, the NHS chief executive said
“In other industries where there are adverse consequences from commercial activities, each service contributes a proportion of its turnover to an organisation or cause intended to mitigate adverse side-effects, or to offset harm,” he said.
“For example the banking levy on industry in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crash, or funding to the Money Advice Service to help people in debt, paid by lenders. Energy companies fund a consumer helpline and gambling firms are asked to contribute to Gambleaware.”
Dame Sally Davies, England’s chief medical officer, is carrying out a review of the impact of technology on children which will consider whether the Government should issue recommended screen time limits.
It follows research in the Lancet Child and Adolescent Health journal which found that children who spend more than two hours a day on smartphones and video games have significantly worse brain development than those with more strict limits.
Later this year, health officials are expected to detail plans for an expansion of mental health services as part of a 10-year plan for the NHS.
Last night, Theresa May, the Prime Minister, suggested Britain had gone too far in putting pressure on children to succeed academically at the expense of their mental health.
Outlining plans to introduce mental heath checks in schools, and train thousands of workers to support well-being, she said: “For generations, we have measured our children’s physical health throughout their childhood. And we have done the same with their academic attainment. But we haven’t done this for their mental well-being.
“That not only sends the wrong message about the importance of mental health but it also denies us vital data that can help transform the support we provide for generations to come.”
If you, or a loved one is struggling with social media addiction call Tamara Ancona, MA, LPC at (678) 297-0708 for an evaluation, and to discuss the best treatment options available.
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