In another attempt to address the country’s youth mental health crisis, dozens of states recently filed lawsuits against social media giant Meta, accusing the parent company of Instagram, Facebook, Whatsapp and more of harming young users’ mental health through allegedly addictive features. It is claimed that these features, such as infinite news feeds and constant notifications that demand users’ attention, are designed to capture and hold onto the attention of young people, despite being bad for their mental health.
The latest effort to prioritize the mental health of young people stems from the fears that social media companies are fueling poor self esteem and depression among youth, as well as contributing toward a spike in suicidal ideation. Up to 95 percent of youth from the ages of 13 to 17 in the U.S. report using a social media platform, with more than a third saying they use social media “almost constantly,” according to the Pew Research Center. And certain federal regulations put in place in recent years, such as not allowing those under 13 to sign up for accounts, are easily circumvented. With this in mind, it’s obvious that protecting the minds of our youth should not only take precedence for social media companies, but for the whole of the country.
We’ll be interested to find out what happens next with the lawsuit, filed on October 24.