(Photo by Laura Chouette on Unsplash)

By Reagan Reese
Daily Caller News Foundation

Seattle Public Schools sued several social media companies Friday for allegedly worsening the mental health of their students.

The lawsuit alleges that the companies running TikTok, Snapchat, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook have created their platforms to be addictive and have caused a mental health crisis among users. The social media platforms have allegedly had a detrimental effect on student’s mental health, forcing the school district to train teachers to identify symptoms of declining mental health and provide resources warning students about the dangers of the platforms, the lawsuit stated.

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“Defendants have successfully exploited the vulnerable brains of youth, hooking tens of millions of students across the country into positive feedback loops of excessive use and abuse of Defendants’ social media platforms,” the lawsuit claimed.

The school district, the largest in the state of Washington with about 53,000 students, saw an “increase in suicides” and “anxiety, depression, thoughts of self-harm” amongst its students, the school district said in a press release on the lawsuit. In the last year, the school said 50% of Washington teenagers spend up to three hours on social media per day, with 30% spending more than three hours a day on the platforms.

“We want teens to be safe online,” Meta Platforms Inc said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation. “We’ve developed more than 30 tools to support teens and families, including supervision tools that let parents limit the amount of time their teens spend on Instagram, and age verification technology that helps teens have age-appropriate experiences. We automatically set teens’ accounts to private when they join Instagram, and we send notifications encouraging them to take regular breaks.”

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Seattle Public Schools is seeking compensation for monetary damages the social media companies have allegedly caused.

“While the King County Council recently allocated additional resources for school-based services, taxpayers should not bear the burden for the mental health crisis social media companies have created, as explained in the complaint,” the school said in a press release. “This lawsuit aims to hold these companies accountable for their actions and set youth mental health trends back on the right trajectory.”

Seattle Public Schools, Alphabet Inc, Snap Inc and ByteDance did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

This story originally was published by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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