A public school district in Seattle is suing several major social media companies, demanding that they pay for poisoning children’s brains and making education more difficult.
A lawsuit filed Friday by Seattle Public Schools against the companies behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat and YouTube seeks compensatory damages to expand the district’s mental health resources.
School districts say the apps are exacerbating a growing youth mental health crisis — interfering with teachers’ ability to do their jobs and providing a basis for lawsuits.
“Defendants took advantage of the fragile brains of young people and hooked tens of millions of students across the country into a positive feedback loop of the overuse and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,” the lawsuit said.
In a statement Saturday, Seattle Public Schools lamented that its students are “suffering from anxiety, depression, thoughts of self-harm and suicidal thoughts.”
“This crisis was already unfolding before the pandemic, with studies identifying social media as playing a major role in causing mental health problems among young people,” the school said. more than 90% of them claimed to use social media.
“Research shows that excessive and problematic use of social media is detrimental to the mental, behavioral and emotional health of young people, leading to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders and suicide. It’s related to the rate of increase.”
Nearly 50% of students in Washington State report spending between one and three hours a day on social media, and 30% say they spend more than three hours on apps, according to the school district.
Superintendent Brent Jones said in a statement, “Our students, and young people around the world, are facing the negative effects of increased screen time, unfiltered content, and potential addiction to social media. We face unprecedented learning and life struggles amplified by
School districts argue that social media-induced mental health problems are overwhelming school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and nurses, and straining limited resources.
“Taxpayers should not bear the burden of the mental health crisis created by social media companies,” the district said.
Seattle is home to Microsoft and Amazon, neither of which is the plaintiff. Google, which owns Meta, Snapchat and YouTube, has offices in Seattle, and some of the parents in the district are likely employees of the companies in question.
The social media company has yet to respond, but Meta CEO and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly refuted the idea that the company is negatively impacting people’s mental health.
“The argument for deliberately pushing content that offends people for profit is highly illogical,” he wrote on Facebook in 2021. content. And I don’t know any tech company trying to build a product that makes people angry or depressed. “
with post wires