Social Media Lawsuit

Children and teenagers are more at risk of poor mental health after excessive exposure to social media. If your child or teen has been negatively impacted by social media, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Children and adolescents are in a critical stage of brain development. They are learning about the world and how they should express themselves. To do so, this population has taken to a multitude of social media platforms, such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, to post, like, comment and share.

Unfortunately, youth’s mental health has declined as a result.

Studies have shown links between excessive use of social media and poor mental health in children and teenagers. Nearly 95 percent of young people ages 13-17 have been reported to use social media, with over a third saying they use it “almost constantly.”

Johnson//Becker is currently accepting new social media lawsuits. If your child has suffered from poor mental health as a result of social media use, you may be entitled to financial compensation.

Social media and mental health

Humans are social beings. Much of happiness depends on social connections and companionship. Stronger connections have a huge impact on mental health and happiness, and eases stress, anxiety and depression. Social connections can also boost self-worth, provide comfort and joy, prevent loneliness, and add years to life.

Social media, while intended to improve connections, has been reported to accomplish the opposite effect.

There has been growing evidence that using social media is linked with disrupted sleep, poor mental health, and reduced physical activity. The more time engaged with social media, the more people feel lonely and isolated.

Decreased strong social connections pose harmful risks to mental and emotional health. Social media can promote negative experiences like the following:

  • Inadequacy about life or appearance
  • Fear of missing out (FOMO)
  • Social media addiction
  • Isolation
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cyberbullying
  • Self-absorption

U.S. Surgeon General statement

On May 23, 2023, the U.S. Surgeon General released a statement detailing the harmful effects of social media, and how the country should move forward in an ongoing youth mental health crisis.

According to the U.S. Surgeon General, “while more research is needed to fully understand the impact of social media, this gap in knowledge cannot be an excuse for inaction.”

The U.S. Surgeon General stresses that the burden should not fall to parents and children on the effects of social media.

While there is not enough evidence to declare that social media is unsafe, there have been numerous studies showing links between social media use and issues with young people’s mental health.

Harmful effects of social media on youth

Social media tends to expose children to harmful content, ranging from violent to sexual content. Online harassment such as cyberbullying and peer pressure has negative effects on children and teens’ brain development.

Designed to be addictive, social media impacts sleep and in-person interactions with family and friends. Social media companies make money by keeping users’ attention and engaged online, repeatedly checking their phones for new posts or online interactions.

Due to teens’ impulsive nature, they are more likely to post on social media about intimate photos or personal stories without considering the consequences of their actions. Sharing intimate photos or personal stories puts teens more at risk of cyberbullying and online harassment, even blackmail.

Children and teens are susceptible to social media influence due to their brain’s development. The part of the brain that is responsible for judgment isn’t fully developed until around age 25.

Symptoms of social media harm upon youth

Children and teens heavily influenced by social media or addicted with social media may demonstrate any of the following symptoms:

  • Using social media so much that it has negatively impacted studies or life
  • Becoming anxious, restless or upset if unable to use social media
  • Using social media as a distraction or way to forget about personal issues
  • Unsuccessfully cutting down on social media use
  • Spending a lot of time thinking about social media or planning how to use it
  • Experiencing the urge to use social media more and more

Mental health issues among youth

As a result from social media use, youth have suffered from the following issues:

Social media addiction: A behavioral addiction and dependence upon social media platforms, overusing social media, and has difficulty reducing use or abstaining from use.

Anxiety: An intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about seemingly normal, everyday situations. People with this disorder can experience panic attacks(sudden feelings of intense anxiety reaching a peak of terror). These feelings interfere with daily activities and are difficult to control.

Depression: A mood disorder that causes a constant feeling of sadness and loss of interest in activities. People with this condition experience changes in the way they feel, think and behave. Depression can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems.

Eating disorder: A health condition that affects physical and mental health. People with this condition experience problems in the way they eat, think about eating, perception of weight and shape, and eating behaviors. The most common eating disorders are anorexia, bulimia and binge-eating disorders. For more information about specific eating disorders, consult the Mayo Clinic webpage.

Body dysmorphia: A mental health condition in which a person cannot stop thinking about defects or flaws in their appearance. People with this condition cannot stop thinking about it to the point that they feel shame, embarrassment or anxiety, and avoid social situations.

Low self-esteem: People with low self-esteem lack confidence in themselves and in their abilities. They often feel inadequate, insecure or unloved, and are afraid of letting those around them down.

Suicide/suicidal ideation: Suicide is death by injuring oneself with the intention to end one’s life. Numerous factors can increase the risk of suicide. Suicidal ideation is thinking about or planning a suicide.

If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health distress or suicidal thoughts, please call or text 988, or reach out to someone you know.

Studies on the effects of social media

Studies have reported links between excessive social media use and symptoms of anxiety and depression.

One study in 2016 of 450 teens discovered that the greater use of social media, nighttime social media use and emotional investment in social media were linked with worse sleep quality and higher levels of anxiety and depression.

The impact of social media upon youth can also depend on how they use social media. In 2015, a study was conducted to determine the intention behind social media and its effects. The study found that if a youth used social media to seek feedback and social comparisons, there was an increase in depression symptoms.

Passive versus active social media has a significant difference in how it impacts mental health. Passive social media, viewing others’ photos without interaction, has been linked with declines in life satisfaction. Active social media, interacting with others or posting one’s own content, typically don’t experience a decline in life satisfaction.

An older study done on Facebook among college students discovered that the longer a college student used the social media platform, the more they believed that others were happier. On the other hand, the more college students that went out and spent time with friends, the less they felt this way.

Social media lawsuit

Social media companies should be held liable for damages to youths’ mental health as a result of using their platforms.

People have been filing social media lawsuits because studies have shown the heavy use of social media to mental health issues among children and teens. Such mental health problems include social media addiction, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, low self-esteem and suicide/suicidal ideation.

Lawsuits against social media companies have been made to hold social media companies accountable for unfair practices and harm, and for targeting a vulnerable audience.

If you or a loved one are experiencing mental health distress or suicidal thoughts, please call or text 988, or reach out to someone you know.

Questions About a Social Media Lawsuit? Contact a Johnson//Becker Lawyer for a Free Case Review.

If your child or teen experienced mental health issues because of social media use, you may want to speak with the lawyers at Johnson//Becker. We are currently accepting new social media lawsuits across the country, and you may be entitled to financial compensation.

We offer a Free Case Evaluation. Please contact us using the form below or by calling us at (800) 279-6386.

We would be honored to speak with you and respond promptly to every inquiry we receive.

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