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School Boards in Canada Sue Social Media Giants Seeking $4bn in Damages

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School Boards in Canada Sue Social Media Giants Seeking $4bn in Damages

Four of Canada’s major school boards are suing social media companies, including Facebook owner Meta and Snap, for more than $4 billion in damages, claiming that their products injure pupils.

The items were “negligently designed for compulsive use, and have rewired the way children think, behave, and learn,” according to a joint statement issued by the boards on Thursday.

According to them, this has resulted in learning and mental health crises among students, necessitating increased investment in support initiatives.

Several studies have found that networks such as Facebook and Instagram can be addictive, with continuous use leading to anxiety and sadness. Last year, thirty-three US states sued Meta, accusing its medicines of creating mental health disorders in young children and teenagers.

The Canadian lawsuit also names TikTok, ByteDance‘s short-video social media site.

The Toronto District School Board, Peel District School Board, Toronto Catholic District School Board, and Ottawa-Carleton District School Board all initiated the action. The boards oversee more than 1,000 schools. Neinstein LLP, a Toronto-based law firm, represents them.

Concerns have grown in recent years regarding the impact of social media, particularly Facebook and Instagram, on children’s well-being. Studies and reports have thrown light on the potential negative impact of these platforms.

Excessive social media use by children

According to a recent report in The New Yorker, confidential records show that Facebook is well aware of the negative consequences Instagram has on kids. According to research, excessive social media use in children and adolescents might have a negative impact on their mental health, self-esteem, and overall well-being.

Despite Facebook contesting its own research findings on Instagram’s impact, the argument over the impact of social media on children’s mental health persists.

Children’s self-esteem and mental health outcomes can suffer as a result of constant comparison to others on social media.

The stuff that children see on platforms such as Facebook and Instagram poses serious mental health hazards. The maintenance of unattainable beauty standards might cause body image difficulties and low self-esteem in young users.

Furthermore, crafted posts can cause anxiety and feelings of inadequacy by instilling a sense of missing out. The pressure to maintain a perfect online persona can cause a schism between the digital self and the real-life identity, resulting in mental discomfort and identity crises in youngsters.

Impact on Children’s Mental Health

The design and algorithms of these platforms have a significant impact in exacerbating mental health disorders. Endless scrolling, notifications, and algorithmic recommendations keep users engaged, encouraging compulsive behavior and creating an ongoing demand for affirmation.

Furthermore, the comparison culture encouraged by social media platforms can exacerbate feelings of jealousy and unworthiness, resulting in a loss in mental health.

Cyberbullying, a common occurrence on these platforms, adds another layer of psychological injury by exposing youngsters to online harassment and social isolation.

Attorneys general in the United States filed a federal complaint against Meta in October, but the specifics were not immediately available. The unsealed indictment contains more information, including as charges from state prosecutors that Meta damaged teenage Facebook and Instagram users by using extremely deceptive algorithms and technological capabilities.

According to the lawsuit, Meta purposefully used these strategies to attract and sustain interest while collecting personal information for advertisers, including from children without parental approval, which is required by law.

The case involves attorneys general from states ranging from California to Wisconsin. The 233-page complaint alleges that teens and children’s excessive usage of Facebook or Instagram can cause physical and mental harm.

State prosecutors based their case on snippets of emails, earnings conference transcripts, and other internal correspondence, all of which demonstrate the tremendous value of teenage users’ personal information and time to firm revenues.

In an emailed statement dated October, when the joint complaint was filed, Meta expressed disappointment with the attorneys general’s approach.

Meta is committed to providing kids with “safe, positive experiences online, and have already introduced over 30 tools to support teens and their families,” the firm stated at the time.

The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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