Seattle Public Schools Sue TikTok, Instagram and Facebook for Damaging Kids' Mental Health
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Seattle's public school district is suing TikTok, Instagram and Facebook, among and other social media platforms, in landmark litigation that alleges that their practices are damaging students' mental health.
The 90-plus-page lawsuit, filed on Friday in U.S. District Court, claims the companies are intentionally marketing their products to "hook" children, according to multiple news outlets including Reuters and CNN.
"Defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants' social media platforms," the lawsuit said.
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The school district alleges that students have experienced anxiety, depression and other mental health issues because of their collective dependence on the apps, and that they are less likely to engage in school while seeking out other problematic behaviors, according to CNN.
Seattle Public Schools is seeking unspecified monetary damages, according to Reuters.
Representatives for some of the defendants provided statements to Reuters in response to the lawsuit. Meta, which owns Facebook, told the outlet that it continues "to work closely with experts, policymakers and parents" to develop more than 30 tools to support teens.
A Google spokesperson said the company has instituted "strong protections and dedicated features to prioritize their well being."
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Meanwhile, some students feel as though administrators are blaming external factors without trying to fix the problems within schools.
"The district, before they carry out a lawsuit, which is very, very expensive, they should have looked inward and addressed the problems that are actually in our schools that they themselves can solve," high school student Natalya McConnell told KING-TV.
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The lawsuit comes more than a year after congressional hearings were held to address the adverse effects of social media on kids.