The Seattle Public School District has sued a few of the biggest social media corporations, demanding that platforms pay them for poisoning kid’s brains and hindering education.
A lawsuit filed Friday by Seattle Public Schools against the businesses behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat and YouTube seeks compensatory damages to expand the district’s mental health resources.
The school district says the apps are exacerbating a growing youth mental health crisis – interfering with teachers’ ability to do their jobs and giving rise to a lawsuit.
“The defendants successfully tapped into the vulnerable brains of youth, drawing tens of hundreds of thousands of scholars across the country right into a positive feedback loop in regards to the overuse and abuse of the defendants’ social media platforms,” the lawsuit reads.
In a press release on Saturday Seattle Public Schools lamented that students “struggle with anxiety, depression, thoughts of self-harm and suicidal thoughts.”
“This crisis was already constructing before the pandemic, and research has shown that social media plays a significant role in causing mental health problems in youth,” the varsity said, claiming that greater than 90% of American youth use social media.
“Research tells us that excessive and problematic use of social media is damaging to the mental, behavioral and emotional health of adolescents and is related to increased rates of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, eating disorders and suicide.”
The school district said nearly 50% of scholars say they spend one to 3 hours a day on social media in Washington State, and 30% say they spend three or more hours on apps.
“Our students – and young people world wide – are facing unprecedented learning and living difficulties, that are exacerbated by the negative impacts of increased screen time, unfiltered content and the possibly addictive properties of social media,” Superintendent Brent Jones said in a press release.
The district says mental health issues brought on by social media are overwhelming school counselors, social staff, psychologists and nurses and straining its limited resources.
“Taxpayers shouldn’t bear the brunt of the mental health crisis that social media has created,” the district said.
Seattle is a tech hub home to each Microsoft and Amazon – neither of which is a reason. Meta, Snapchat and Google, which owns YouTube, have offices in Seattle, and a few of the parents within the district are likely employees of the businesses being sued.
Social media corporations have yet to reply, but Meta CEO and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has repeatedly dismissed the concept that the corporate has a negative impact on people’s mental health.
“The argument that we intentionally distribute content that makes people indignant for profit is deeply illogical” wrote on Facebook in 2021 “We generate profits from ads, and advertisers consistently tell us they don’t need their ads to seem alongside harmful or indignant content. And I do not know of any tech company whose goal is to create products that make people indignant or depressed.”
With postal wirep