Seattle School District Suing Social Media Platforms, Claims They're Detrimental to Students' Mental
The largest social media platforms are being sued by Seattle's public school district, which is demanding compensation for harming children's brain development and making teaching more difficult.
Seattle Public Schools sued the makers of TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and YouTube on Friday, requesting compensatory damages to increase the district's access to mental health services.
According to the district, the apps contribute to a growing youth mental health crisis, preventing teachers from doing their jobs.
"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 lawsuit said.
Seattle Public Schools noted that children "are struggling with anxiety, depression, thoughts of self-harm, and suicidal ideation."
"This crisis was already growing before the pandemic, and research has identified social media as playing a major role in causing mental health problems in youth," the school said.
"Research tells us that excessive and problematic use of social media is harmful to the mental, behavioral, and emotional health of youth and is associated with increased rates of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders, and suicide."
Almost half of the students in Washington state report spending one to three hours a day on social media, and 30% report spending three hours or more on apps.
Superintendent Brent Jones said, "Our students - and young people everywhere - face unprecedented learning and life struggles that are amplified by the negative impacts of increased screen time, unfiltered content, and potentially addictive properties of social media."
According to the district, mental health issues caused by social media are overwhelming school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses.
"Taxpayers should not bear the burden for the mental health crisis social media companies have created," the district said.
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