Three major social media companies have been accused of causing a mental health crisis among young people by being designed to be addictive.
The social media giants are being sued by the San Mateo County Board of Education and the district's administrator.
The platforms are accused of causing physical damage to school property.
There is hard science behind the claim that social media is causing a mental health epidemic in school-age children.
“[S]ocial media companies have ignited a serious mental health crisis through their deployment of artificial intelligence algorithms designed to keep children and teenagers tied to social media programs in unhealthy ways.”Joseph Cotchett, attorney for the plaintiff
Every day, schools are dealing with the aftermath, which includes distracted students, increased absences, more children diagnosed with ADHD, cyber-bullying that carries into the classroom, and even physical damage to our San Mateo Schools, an example is the vandalizing of the TikTok.
"This case represents one of the most serious issues facing the nation's students, as outlined in the complaint, social media companies have created a serious mental health crisis through their deployment of artificial intelligence, designed to keep children and teenagers tied to social media programs in unhealthy ways."
The platforms are accused of being a public nuisance and of being negligent in the design and marketing of their products.
The companies are accused of engaging in racketeering, conspiracy and unfair business practices.
The companies are being asked to stop engaging in further actions that cause or contribute to the lawsuit.
They want the defendants to pay for prevention education and treatment for excessive and problematic use of social media.
An ongoing effort by critics of social media companies to hold them accountable for the perceived damage they do to individuals and society at large is one of the reasons why the school board decided to file the suit.
During his State of the Union Address, the president called out the platforms for the experiment they are running on our children for profit.
The same companies, along with Facebook, face a similar lawsuit in Seattle.
In a statement on the county's website, the district attorney said that social media can be used for good.
"Unfortunately, these companies have chosen to pursue childhood addiction as a business model and to treat the attention of young people as a commodity to be traded"
Representatives for the platforms named in the suit didn't comment directly on the lawsuit, but emphasized the work they're doing to keep their products safe
"We have invested heavily in creating safe experiences for children across our platforms and have introduced strong protections and dedicated features to prioritize their well-being."
Castaeda said that Family Link gives parents the ability to set reminders, limit screen time and block certain types of content.
An in-app tool that lets parents better monitor their kids activity is one of the things that the company has done.
The well-being of our community is of paramount importance to us. The spread and discovery of harmful content is greatly reduced by using human moderation to review user generated content on the platform. We work closely with leading mental health organizations to provide in-app tools forSnapchatters and resources to support them. We are constantly looking at how we can make our platform safer.
There are features on TikTok that are designed to protect young people, including parental controls and age-restrictions.
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