Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram is facing a number of lawsuits filed on behalf of youth and adolescents who suffer from anxiety, depression, mood disorders and suicidal tendencies due to social media addiction. The lawsuits allege social media platform engineers at Facebook and Instagram designed sophisticated algorithms to encourage frequent access and prolonged exposure to content posted to these sites and failed to put systems in place to protect youth and adolescent users.
How does social media addiction harm teens?
Social media platforms employ algorithms that entice users to visit the sites frequently and spend long periods of time consuming content. Stimuli including likes, notifications, comments and sounds activate dopamine pathways in the brain related to motivation, reward and addiction. The National Library of Medicine confirmed in a study that adolescent brains are more susceptible to the dopamine surges and addictive nature of social media algorithms than those of adults. The research suggests that adolescents face a more difficult challenge regulating emotions that arise from social media interactions as neural pathways in the brain are continuing to develop at this age. For this reason, adolescents may be more prone to angry outbursts and aggressive acts following negative social media interactions or become withdrawn following negative comparisons to social media content they viewed.
A study from Springer Social Sciences which examined the impact of social media addiction on high school students, found social media has a profound negative impact on interpersonal relationships, psychological health and private life. Social media addiction also increases levels of depression, paranoid thoughts, phobic anxiety and feelings of anger and hostility in adolescent users. Additionally, it was found that increased social media use can cause a reduction of sleep quality which then had a negative impact on school performance and achievement as well as activities and energy levels.
Legal help for teens addicted to social media
The addictive psychological tactics used by Facebook and Instagram to lure young people and teens to these platforms and keep them there for long periods of time have created a serious mental health crisis among our children. Lawsuits have been filed to hold Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram, accountable for putting our children in harm’s way. If you or your child is a heavy user of social media platforms and has suffered serious mental health problems including anxiety, eating disorders, depression, or suicidal ideation, contact us. Our firm can provide you with a free consultation and advise you of your legal rights and options.