Family whose son was cyberbullied to death reacts to call for 'warning labels' on social media platforms

U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy is urging Congress to mandate warning labels on social media platforms, similar to those on tobacco and alcohol products, citing a mental health crisis among young people.

Murthy made his case in an op-ed published Monday in The New York Times, arguing that social media is a significant contributor to the emergency. He referenced several studies, including a 2019 report from the American Medical Association, which found that teens who spend three hours a day on social media double their risk of depression.

Rob and Rose Bronstein's 15-year-old son Nate took his own life after being cyberbullied on Snapchat. They have filed a lawsuit and continue to speak out – even on Capitol Hill – about what else needs to be done.

"The analogy that was made in the op-ed, and I'm sure and a lot of people talking about it is comparing it to the warning that's on tobacco. And there actually is a warning at tobacco. And I have no doubt that that has helped a lot. But a lot of other things also went into keeping tobacco out of out of children's hands, including very strong laws and regulation and other things. So it's a piece, but it's only a piece, so a lot more needs to be done," said Rob.

A local attorney, Michael Bonamarte, who has a nine-year-old child, emphasized the need for community action to hold social media companies accountable.

"I’d like nothing more than to not get a call from someone in my community and hear that something horrible has happened to their child. But I think it's important for trial lawyers to be willing to put up a fight and challenge what is going on right now because it’s a very, very serious problem that a lot of communities are dealing with," said Bonamarte, Managing Partner for Levin & Perconti.

In May 2023, the Surgeon General recommended that parents restrict their children’s social media use and stated that 13 years old is too young for kids to be on social media.