San Mateo County, which has 23 school districts and is part of northern California’s Silicon Valley, filed a 107-page complaint in federal court last week, alleging that social media companies used advanced artificial intelligence and machine learning techniques to Claimed to have created an addictive platform. Young people do harm.
“The results have been disastrous,” Filing claims, noting that more children than ever are struggling with their mental health amid overuse of the platform. The crisis we face today has no historical analogue,” it said.
The lawsuit shows recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing rising rates of depressive symptoms and suicidal ideation among high school students across the country. It claims that the growing popularity of social media is “precisely tracking” the decline in mental health among young people. It quotes President Biden as saying in his State of the Union address that the tactics used by social media companies are “experiments they are running on our children for profit.”
San Mateo County Superintendent Nancy McGee said in an interview that social media abuse has left a mark on schools and that administrators have observed a spike in mental health emergencies while attending school. SocialShe has a ‘very serious’ cyberbullying incident linked to media whose content is ‘nearly impossible’ to get companies to remove, school intimidation keeps students at home , she said.
Magee also pointed out other harms. For example, high school bathroom vandalism called the “Devious Lick Challenge.” Students across the country have performed their stunts on TikTok after stealing soap dispensers, flooding toilets and shattering mirrors.
The student mental health crisis is far worse than we realize
“Social media companies create platforms and tools, but the impact is felt by schools, and I want people to understand that,” said Magee. “And the educational community receives resources, both in personnel and tools, to adequately support students.”
The social media company has not directly commented on the lawsuit, but said in a written statement it is prioritizing the safety of teens and outlining measures it is taking to protect young users.
TikTok cited an age-restricted feature with restrictions on direct messages and live streams, and a private account for teens by default. It also points out the limitation of nighttime notifications. Parental controls, called family pairing, give parents control over content, privacy, and screen time.and expert resources, You can access things like suicide prevention and an eating disorder helpline directly from the app.
Google-owned YouTube has Family Link, which allows parents to set reminders, limit screen time and block certain types of content on supervised devices, said a spokesperson. says José Castañeda. Protection for users under 18 includes default uploads to private, health reminders for breaks and bedtime.
According to Instagram owner Meta, more than 30 tools support teens and families, including age verification technology, reminders to take regular breaks, and the ability for parents to limit time on Instagram. “We do not allow content that promotes suicide, self-harm, or eating disorders. Of the content we remove or take action on, before it is reported, he removes more than 99% of it. Specific .meta safety.
Snapchat says its platform “curates content from prominent creators and publishers and uses human moderation to review user-generated content before it reaches a large audience.” . Doing so “can significantly reduce the spread and discovery of harmful content,” the spokesperson said, adding that Snapchat is working with mental health organizations to provide users with in-app tools and resources. added.
The first lawsuit, filed Jan. 6 in Seattle Public Schools, said the study found that social media companies “took advantage of the same neural circuits as gambling and recreational drugs to discourage consumers from using their products as much as possible.” ‘I’m trying to keep going’ and social media is very popular, with 90% of 13-17 year olds using it. According to one study, a user checks her Snapchat 30 times a day. Nearly 20% of his teens use YouTube “almost constantly,” the report said.
In Seattle, “saying they can’t stop or control their anxiety, feeling so sad and hopeless, quitting activities they used to love, contemplating suicide,” or planning to end their lives. The percentage of young people who stand up is increasing rapidly. Or attempted suicide, the lawsuit said.
American girlhood crisis
Outside of Philadelphia, Bucks County officials filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the social media company, filing a similar lawsuit. said Commissioner Bob Harvie, pointing out that mental health.
“From our perspective, it’s the same way tobacco companies manipulate nicotine levels to keep people smoking,” Harvey said. to change the behavior of the companies of
School districts generally seek damages to fund the prevention, education, and treatment of the excessive and problematic use of social media by declaring the conduct of social media companies to be public nuisances, changing their practices, and seeking treatment. is required to be paid.
The 109-page lawsuit on behalf of Bucks County highlighted deteriorating mental health data and said the issue was “to attract young people to the platform and make them dependent on it by amplifying harmful material and dopamine dosing users.” We are keeping pace with the growth of social media platforms purposefully designed for.” hits, thereby driving youth engagement and advertising revenue. ”
Later, he said the social app “hijacks–connects–the urges of tweens and teens that are more powerful than hunger and greed.”
Chathams School District in northern New Jersey has increased resources it has invested in over the years to help students struggling with anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, said attorney Michael Innes. middle of February. The company filed a similar lawsuit in early March against Irvington Public Schools, another New Jersey school district.
“We’ve spoken with school districts that have made decisions between spending on mental health and spending on classroom education,” Innes said.
For Harvard Graduate School of Education senior lecturer and psychologist Richard Weissboard, lawsuits may make a lot of sense, but parents, coaches, and others involved in the lives of teens are 10 years old. We need to talk more effectively about benefits and risks with teenagers. Social media.
One problem, says Weissbourd, is that many parents are addicted to their devices. In a recent survey, many of her teens reported that their primary caregiver used a smartphone or computer when they needed help or wanted to be with them.
Marisol Garcia, a staff therapist at Northwestern University Family Institute, says social media can be a powerful means of connection, but it also has a downside. She wasn’t surprised that the school had started filing lawsuits, saying it wanted to do what it thought was good for the mental and physical health of its students.
The long-term effects of social media use on attention span, social skills, and mental health are unknown, she said. The lawsuit “may be a positive thing,” she said.