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St. Louis adults: Social media effects on youth are mostly negative

Nearly half (46%) of St. Louis adults surveyed think that social media’s effect on youth is mostly negative. Only 4% think it is mostly positive, and the rest think it is equally positive and negative (37%) or don’t know (14%).

When asked who is most responsible for making social media safer for young people, 45% of respondents said parents/caregivers and 37% said social media companies. Only 9% said government. There were striking differences across sub-groups:

  • Younger adults (<30) were more likely than those ≥30 to say social media companies were most responsible (57% vs 28%);
  • Women were more likely than men to say social media companies were most responsible (43% vs 23%)

On May 23, the U.S. Surgeon General released an advisory (HHS) warning that social media may pose a risk to the mental and physical health of children and adolescents (NPR). About 1 in 3 adults surveyed (31%) reported hearing about the U.S. Surgeon General’s advisory.

The Surgeon General stated that parents/caregivers, researchers, policymakers and technology companies are responsible and need to take accountability for protecting children (Time).

Resources to help protect youth from harmful social media exposure are available from the American Psychological Association (APA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics Family Media Plan (www.healthychildren.org/MediaUsePlan).

This week’s report is based on 156 responses from a panel of adult residents of St. Louis City and County surveyed from Saturday, May 27, to Monday, May 29, 2023. Explore these data and more at iHeardSTL.

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