Seattle Public Schools, the largest K-12 system in Washington state with more than 49,000 students and 106 schools, has filed a lawsuit against TikTok, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram.
It is the first school district in the country to take the social media giants on its platforms for the proposed fueling of mental health crises. In a lawsuit filed Jan. 6, the school district seeks to hold the social media conglomerates liable for harming students’ mental health and inciting cyberbullying, with the hope that the U.S. District Court in Seattle will uphold “the maximum statutory and civil penalties permitted by law.” .”
A survey included in the lawsuit shows that from 2009 to 2019, there was a 30% increase in students who felt “so sad or hopeless almost every day for two or more weeks in a row that [they] he stopped doing some of his usual activities.” The lawsuit also claims that “This mental health crisis is not an accident. It is the result of intentional decisions and affirmative actions by the defendants in designing and marketing their social media platforms to attract young people.”
A lawsuit follows wave to ban TikTok and other social media platforms, especially among the youth of the nation, for questions about privacy, internet addiction and the overall negative impact on mental health. in 2021 Facebook whistleblower Frances Haugen shared that the creators behind Meta knew that apps like Instagram were negatively influencing teenagers, especially when it came to body image, but chose to put profit over protection. Consolidating many of the concerns Seattle Public Schools raises in its lawsuit.
Through their case, Seattle Public Schools hopes to achieve some form of accountability along with a push to implement appropriate resources in schools, such as counseling services, to help students.