Zuckerberg is right that the research on how social media affects teens is complex. But the way Facebook and Instagram deal with teens’ mental health challenges is very wrong.
It is essential to understand what is happening to their brains during all this time. Congress should allocate funding for rigorous research to answer the question.
Since teens spend so much of their time online, social networks have a social responsibility to help.
There are two big things they can do. First, they have to remove the label of harmful content – such as so-called “inspiration” or “thinspo” posts that appear to be practically designed to harm images of girls’ bodies. Instead, they should amplify content that encourages body positivity. These are complex things, and algorithms cannot analyze healthy content from harmful content based on keywords alone. Instead, Facebook should hire more content moderators who are experts in the field — such as child psychologists — who can identify and prioritize positive content.
It’s time for social networks to take a closer look in the mirror to check if and how they affect teens’ mental health. Simple claims that they ban publications that glorify eating disorders are not enough. With young people spending an astonishing amount of their lives online, this question also needs to be investigated urgently by independent researchers.
Regardless of whether they are to blame, social networks can — and should — take action to help teens with devastating mental health challenges gain a better perspective by promoting healthy content — and remind them when they don’t see much. t realistic. That would give legislators, teens, and parents a lot of likeability on social media.