Seattle Schools Sue Social Media Companies, Claim “Damage”
It's the first such suit of its kind in our state
Seattle Public Schools sue social media, claiming student harm
According to MyNorthwest.com, the Seattle Public School district (SPS) which is the largest in the state, has filed a U.S. District Court lawsuit against several social media giants including Meta (Facebook and Instagram), Snap Chat and tik tok.
The suit claims the companies have not done enough to prevent young users from suffering mental health issues. According to MyNorthwest.com:
(the suit accuses the companies) "for worsening mental health and behavioral disorders, including anxiety, depression, disordered eating, and cyberbullying. According to the American Psychological Association, one in five children aged 13 to 17 now suffers from a mental health disorder."
According to MyNorthwest.com, a 2021 study by social media whistleblower Frances Haugen claim Instagram knew of the effects on younger children and teens, and even had internal data supporting these trends, but did nothing about it.
The SPS District has over 49,000 students, making it the largest in the state. According to the suit, the District wants the court to order the companies to cease creating a "public nuisance" as well as awarding damages (not sure to whom) and pay for prevention and treatment of "problematic use of social media."
According to KING-5 TV, the lawsuit says more than 16 million users of the app tik tok are under the age of 14. There have been growing efforts to get the Chinese-based app banned or at least force the company to carve off it's "U.S." division over security and data concerns. Critics say the app is potentially harvesting data which winds up in the hands of Chinese and possibly scammer organizations.
SPS says studies and surveys have shown students are increasingly dealing with mental health issues, especially over the last few years, and social media is exacerbating those problems.
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