social media addiction

Parents File Lawsuits, Blame Social Media for Teens Mental Health Issues

A 16-year-old girl in Utah becomes so obsessed with her body image after getting hooked on Instagram that she develops anorexia and bulimia. A boy from Michigan goes from watching YouTube videos for several hours a day at age 9 to binging all night on TikTok and Snapchat, then ends up sharing a nude photo of himself on Snapchat with a stranger who circulates it widely online. A Connecticut girl struggles for more than two years with an extreme addiction to Instagram and Snapchat before she succumbs to severe sleep deprivation and depression and takes her own life—at age 11. Under the platforms’ terms of use, she shouldn’t even have had accounts before she turned 13.

These children and others like them are the face of a novel effort to use litigation to pin responsibility for the alleged dangers of social media on the companies that run the most popular platforms. More than 70 lawsuits have been filed this year against Meta, Snap, ByteDance’s TikTok, and Google centering on claims from adolescents and young adults who say they’ve suffered anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and sleeplessness as a result of their addiction to social media. 


[Featured Photo “Social Media Addiction” by Mike Licht, is licensed under CC BY 2.0.]

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