Social Media Adolescent Addiction Litigation

Results achieved in prior matters are not meant to be a guarantee of success as the facts and legal circumstances vary from matter to matter.

On October 5th, 2021, Frances Haugen, a former Facebook employee, testified in front of the United States Senate. Her testimony was both groundbreaking and disturbing. Ms. Haugen revealed that not only was Facebook exacerbating a youth mental health crisis, but Facebook knew about it and did nothing to address it.

Since then, the nation’s largest social media companies have come under scrutiny. We now know that apps such as Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok, and Instagram were intentionally designed using psychological tactics to addict children and prevent them from ever leaving their platforms. Some of these tactics include complex algorithms, endless search feeds, and targeted notifications, to name only a few.

Recent studies have directly linked the exponential growth in social media usage with the youth mental health crisis that our nation faces. This correlation was highlighted in a 2023 United States Surgeon General Advisory titled “Social Media and Youth Mental Health,” finding that “there are ample indicators that social media can also have a profound risk of harm to the mental health and well-being of children and adolescents.”

Injuries Caused by Social Media Addiction

Some of the reported adverse effects of social media addiction include, but are not limited to:

  • anxiety
  • depression
  • body dysmorphia
  • suicidal thoughts
  • inability to focus
  • eating disorders

Impact on School Districts

The depth of the youth mental health crisis has become increasingly more profound. In addition to the direct effects on adolescents, our educational system has also suffered. Schools have hired mental health professionals and implemented remedial policies, diverting much-needed resources and negatively impacting the school’s main purpose of teaching students.

Lawsuits Filed Against Social Media Companies

Since October 2022, hundreds of lawsuits have been filed against various social media companies. Claims were filed, and continue to be filed, by affected parents, municipalities, state attorneys general, and school districts. The lawsuits allege that the social media companies were negligent in designing their apps, exacerbating the mental health issues that adolescents are suffering from.

Wilentz, Goldman & Spitzer, P.A. is currently investigating cases on behalf of school districts, municipalities, or individuals who have been harmed by social media addiction.

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