Matawan-Aberdeen, NJ, schools sue ‘predatory’ social media
🔺 Matawan-Aberdeen schools join lawsuit against biggest social media companies
🔺The suit alleges social media platforms are partly to blame for youth mental health crisis
🔺Litigation follows groundbreaking report on the impact of social media on teens
Another New Jersey school district has joined a groundbreaking federal lawsuit against all major social media companies.
The Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District has retained the same law-firm that has brought suit against Meta (Facebook and Instagram), TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube and others for particularly targeting children and adolescents.
"We cannot ignore the profound impact that social media has had on our students' mental health and overall well-being," said Matawan-Aberdeen School Superintendent Joseph G. Majka, "As a public school district, we are on the frontlines, witnessing the consequences firsthand and dedicating increasing resources to address this crisis. Bringing this federal lawsuit is a critical step towards seeking justice and ensuring that the social media companies are held responsible for their actions."
The suit alleges social media purveyors knowingly lured children onto their platforms causing harm and contributing to the mental health crisis plaguing young people in New Jersey and nationwide.
In May, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a report detailing the detrimental impact of social media on the mental health of adolescents and teenagers. The report concluded social media presents a "profound risk of harm" to adolescents and teens.
Evidence is indicating there is reason to be concerned about the risk of harm social media use poses to children and adolescents. - U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy
Majka called the Surgeon General's report a "turning point" in the effort to hold social media companies liable for what he termed "destructive practices" and "predatory conduct towards their youngest and most vulnerable users."
Ultimately, the suit seeks to have social media companies share the cost of providing intervention and care to students struggling with mental health issues. It seeks to link social media use with the rising rates of mental health struggles, including suicidal ideation, depression, anxiety, and "other tragic indices that have become a severe public health crisis affecting children across the nation. "
In addition to the lawsuit, the Matawan-Aberdeen Regional School District intends an information campaign for students and their parents/guardians that highlight "the balance necessary in using social media."
The district says they "aim to empower students to lead the charge in taking back their time and mental health by increasing engagement in real-life experiences and relationships."
If you or your child is in crisis
Reach out for help. If you or someone you know is being negatively affected by social media, reach out to a trusted friend or adult for help. If you or someone you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, call or text 988 for immediate help.
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