FOSI Response to the Surgeon General’s Advisory on Social Media and Youth

May 23, 2023

FOSI commends the advisory released today by U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy, which presents a nuanced reflection on the current state of social media use by teenagers. 

In our work, we frequently hear from parents who are striving to keep their kids safe in an increasingly complex digital world, with concerns that include both mental and physical health. However, we also hear of the many ways that social media can provide opportunities for connection, support, education and creativity. As the Surgeon General’s advisory states, “social media has both positive and negative impacts on children and adolescents.”

 Additionally, we welcome the specific inclusions that:   

  • Emphasize the value of a multifaceted approach including policymakers, tech companies and researchers, as well as parents and kids themselves.
  • Identify knowledge gaps. As an organization that accentuates the importance of industry best practices, we encourage transparency and access to data that may allow researchers to fully understand the scope of this critical issue so that solutions can be created.
  • Acknowledge the importance of kids’ agency and ability to participate in their own approach to digital wellbeing, along with a wider family approach that underscores responsible behavior. We endorse a collaborative approach to household tech rules with our own family safety agreements and other parenting resources

Most importantly, we echo the call for further research into the many ways that children can stay safe and thrive in online environments. This type of guidance, along with the recent new guidelines on social media use in adolescence from the American Psychological Association, provides a vital, evidence-based foundation for those working to make the digital world a better place for kids and their families.


The Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) is an international, nonprofit organization that aims to be inclusive, transparent and non-partisan in all that we do. We believe in a bottom-up, multi-stakeholder approach that is evidence-based and empowering. While acknowledging the many and varied risks and threats online, FOSI also promotes the positive and enriching use of digital technology in all its forms.