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Since a whistleblower’s testimony to Congress in 2021, there has been growing concern about the impact of social media on young people’s mental health. For this reason, parents have begun taking legal action against social media companies. One way that parents are taking back control is through filing social media lawsuits for teen mental health.
Social media has revolutionized the way we connect with each other, but it has also been linked to adverse effects on teen mental health. It is a relatively new phenomenon. For that reason, there have never been conclusive studies about its impact on teens until recently. For instance, Meta’s (Facebook) research has shown that its algorithm has incredibly damaging effects on teens’ mental health.
Why Do These Lawsuits Focus on Children and Teens?
These lawsuits focus on minors simply because the science supports it. When a product liability attorney takes a case to court, they have to be able to prove a product is the cause of damages. In other words, the strongest case is for teenage users of Instagram and Facebook.
What is the Science Behind Social Media Lawsuits?
The algorithms on apps like Instagram recommend and promote harmful content to youth. Meta has created an algorithm that’s primary purpose is to keep you engaged as long and as often as possible. Not only is the algorithm addictive, but it often serves content that is harmful to a teen’s sense of self-worth.
It’s easy to say: blame the parents. However, it’s not that cut and dry when it comes to the law.
Companies cannot knowingly produce a product that harms people.
Meta was well aware of the harm its product was causing, as noted by Frances Haugen’s Congressional testimony.
Social media has become an integral part of many young people’s lives. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok have created new ways for teens to connect with their peers, express themselves, and build their personal brands. In fact, many teens view these platforms as a way to potentially support themselves financially.
Studies have found that social media use is linked to increased rates of the following mental health disorders:
- Suicidal ideation
- Attempted suicide
- Binge Eating
- Body dysmorphic disorder
Our social media lawsuit lawyers are helping families determine if their child’s case can be connected to social media. The best way to determine your social media lawsuit eligibility is to schedule a free consultation with our team.
How Does Social Media Cause These Mental Health Disorders?
The constant comparison to peers’ filtered and curated lives on social media can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. The pressure to conform to unrealistic beauty standards and social norms can also cause significant stress and anxiety.
Furthermore, cyberbullying and online harassment have become pervasive on social media platforms. This, of course, can lead to severe emotional distress for many young people. Teens may feel powerless to escape the negative attention and criticism they receive online, which can lead to feelings of hopelessness and isolation.
Social Media Lawsuits
Given these concerns, it’s unsurprising that some parents and advocacy groups have turned to the legal system to hold social media companies accountable. In recent years, there have been several high-profile lawsuits against social media platforms related to teen mental health.
In 2019, the parents of a 14-year-old girl who died by suicide filed a lawsuit against Instagram, alleging that the platform’s algorithm contributed to their daughter’s death. The lawsuit claimed that Instagram’s algorithm promoted content related to self-harm and suicide, which may have exacerbated the girl’s mental health struggles.
In another case, a group of parents sued TikTok, alleging that the platform’s design and content contributed to their children’s addiction to the app. The parents claimed that TikTok’s use of “endless scroll” and “likes” incentivized users to spend more time on the platform, leading to addiction and negative mental health outcomes.
These lawsuits are part of a broader movement to hold social media companies accountable for the content they promote and the impact it has on users’ mental health. While it’s still unclear how these cases will play out in court, they have drawn attention to the need for greater regulation and oversight of social media platforms.
Implications for the Future
The lawsuits against social media companies for teen mental health have important implications for the future of social media regulation. As more people become aware of the potential negative effects of social media use, there will likely be more pressure on lawmakers to take action.
One possible outcome is that social media platforms will be required to implement new safeguards to protect users’ mental health. For example, platforms may be required to limit the amount of time users can spend on the app or provide resources for users struggling with mental health issues.
Another possible outcome is that social media companies may face increased liability for the content posted on their platforms. This could lead to more aggressive content moderation and removing harmful or offensive material.
Further, federal legislation requiring parental consent for minors to use social media has been introduced.
Our Social Media Lawsuit Attorneys Can Help
Ultimately, the lawsuits against social media companies for teen mental health highlights the need for a broader conversation about the role of social media in our lives. While these platforms have the potential to connect us in new and exciting ways, we must also recognize the potential risks and take steps to reduce them.
Our Social Media Lawyers’ goal in handling social media lawsuits is to help create a safer and healthier online environment for all users. Schedule a free consultation today by calling us at 800-359-5690 or using the chat feature below.