The largest school district – Seattle Public Schools – in Washington state is suing several major social media companies, including Meta, Twitter, TikTok, Snapchat, and others, for contributing to youth mental health crisis. The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Washington, alleged that the rapid growth of social media platforms has exploited the psychology and neurophysiology of their users.

Mental Health Crisis: Social Media Platforms Have Exploited the Brains of Youth

The complaint filed by the Seattle Public Schools alleges that the ‘defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,’ ‘The misconduct of these platforms has been a substantial factor in causing a youth mental health crisis,” reads the complaint.

The schools claimed that it has seen a 30% increase from 2009 to 2019 of students who said they feel so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that [they] stopped doing some usual activities. A study by the Pew Research Center found that 97% of surveyed teens use the internet daily, with 35% saying they are on at least one social media platform constantly.

More than 1200 Families Sued Social Media Platforms Over Mental Health Issues

Last year, more than 1200 families sued social media platforms, as the posts on these platforms impacted their kids’ mental health and, in some cases, helped lead to the death of their children. One of the families – Spence Family – alleged that Instagram led their daughter Alexis into depression and an eating disorder at the age of 12. “She was addicted to social media. We couldn’t stop it. It was much bigger than us,” said the parents.

Also read: Meta Launches New Parental Tools for Instagram


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