Social media can be fun for adults and adolescents – but it also presents a risk of harm to mental health, especially for youth. HopeSpoke ( encourages parents and caregivers to follow the U.S. Surgeon General’s new Advisory on Social Media and Youth Mental Health.

The report shows that youth report benefits from social media such as community acceptance, connection with friends and a space for creativity. But, excessive time spent on social media and the content youth are viewing can increase symptoms such as depression and anxiety, disrupt sleep and affect body image and self-esteem.

“Social media is everywhere and can negatively impact youth and adults alike,” says Katie McLeese Stephenson, executive director of HopeSpoke. “There is an addictive quality to social media, and social comparison can leave people feeling isolated. Checking in with youth to help them to negotiate these experiences and set boundaries for use is a vital role for caregivers.”

Here are some ways parents and caregivers can help kids use social media safely:

  • Establish tech-free zones to protect sleep and foster family
  • Teach and model responsible online
  • Report problematic content and
  • Help youth limit time on
  • Monitor sharing of personal

The surgeon general’s report is available at

HopeSpoke inspires healthy futures for children and families through comprehensive behavioral and mental health services. For more information, visit