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Surgeon General calls for warning labels on social media platforms

He says evidence is growing that these platforms are a mental health threat

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U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy says social media platforms should carry a warning, much like the warnings that appear on tobacco products.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, Murthy said there is growing evidence that exposure to social media can be a mental health risk, particularly for young people. He said he will ask Congress to approve such a label, saying it would be a strong reminder to parents and children that social media platforms have not been proven sa...

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    Connecting networks of friends can increase feelings of support

    The best emotional outcomes are likely to arise when close connections all get along

    Having a strong social network can yield several physical and mental health benefits for consumers, and now a new study is exploring what makes some friends feel more supported than others. 

    According to researchers from Ohio State University, consumers are most likely to feel supported when their closest contacts all know and like each other. 

    “The more cohesive, the more dense this network you have, the more you feel you can rely on them for support,” said researcher David Lee. “It matters if your friends can depend on each other, just like you depend on them.” 

    Making the most of social connections

    The researchers conducted two online studies to determine how consumers best felt supported by their friends and family. In one study, 240 participants were asked to make two lists of the people closest to them based on those who knew each other and those who didn’t know each other. They were then given a hypothetical scenario in which they’d need to reach out to one of the two groups for support in the case of an emergency. 

    Participants reported that they’d feel more supported by the group that knew each other rather than the group that was unconnected. The researchers explained that there could be several reasons for this trend, but one of the primary takeaways is that connected support networks are often viewed as just that: connected. Rather than thinking of each friend or family member individually, thinking of them as a group yields more support. 

    “You can have two friends who are both very supportive of you, but if they are both friends with each other, that makes you feel even more supported,” said researcher Jonathan Stahl. 

    The second study had over 330 participants list the eight people they felt the closest to and how supported they felt by each connection. To understand how support can shift depending on the interconnectedness of those on the lists, the participants also ranked how close each connection was to each other. 

    Ultimately, the researchers learned that closeness between support systems once again played a role, as the participants rated connections as more supportive when they were close with other friends or family on the list. 

    Moving forward, the researchers hope that consumers understand how beneficial it can be to have groups of family and friends spend time together and feel close to one another, because this is a key component in feeling loved and supported. 

    “We found that our support networks are more than the sum of their parts,” said researcher Joseph Bayer. “People who feel they have more social support in their lives may be focusing more on the collective support they feel from being part of a strong, cohesive group. It’s having a real crew, as opposed to just having a set of friends.” 

    Having a strong social network can yield several physical and mental health benefits for consumers, and now a new study is exploring what makes some friend...

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    Would you date someone who won’t wear a mask?

    An annual Match survey shows how dating has changed in 2020

    A deadly pandemic and social upheaval have created chaos and change in wide areas of life this year, including relationships.

    The changes are on display in Match’s annual Singles In America study, which underscores the obstacles 2020 has brought to relationships. Dr. Helen Fisher, chief scientific advisor at Match, says the changes to the dating landscape this year are unprecedented.

    "Prior to 2020, no one expected that singles would consider a date's willingness to wear a mask,” she said. “Recent cataclysmic events have led singles to want more from dating: a desire for a relationship over casual dating; more meaningful conversations, and more honesty and transparency during a date." 

    In other words, people are a little more serious about who they go out with. Fisher says the study found that the typical single now wants to know who you are, where you're headed financially, and what you expect from a possible partnership. 

    Social distancing in dating

    How exactly do you date in an era of social distancing? Fisher says singles have found a way.

    “With the rise of video dating -- a new stage in the courtship process -- singles are saving time, money, and kissing fewer frogs."

    According to the study authors, the pandemic sped up a trend that was already unfolding. People are waiting until their late 20s or even later before seeking a relationship. Relationships are also developing more slowly, with singles taking more time to get to know potential partners.

    Priorities have also shifted. Forty-four percent of singles in the study said they had more meaningful conversations with a date in the last month than they generally had before the pandemic. For Gen Z, it was 50 percent.

    Looks less important

    Sixty-one percent of Gen Z daters and 49 percent of millennials say they are less focused on their potential partner’s looks. Sixty-three percent of active Match users say they are spending more time learning about their potential partners, and 69 percent believe those interactions are more honest.

    The study clearly shows that the pandemic has brought about new rules in dating, including whether or not to date at all. About two-thirds of singles are open to going out with someone right now, but 36 percent say they have been highly selective about going on a date.

    A question that may come up before a date is offered or agreed to is whether the person has been practicing social distancing. Twenty percent say they are more careful about touching and kissing. Face masks have also become a significant part of dating, with 20 percent of singles saying they insist that both people on the date wear a face covering.

    The survey shows the pandemic has been a strain on existing relationships. One in four singles broke up with their significant other during the spring’s coronavirus lockdown. Twenty-two percent said they lost contact with someone they hoped to date.

    A deadly pandemic and social upheaval have created chaos and change in wide areas of life this year, including relationships.The changes are on display...