Seattle Public Schools sues TikTok, YouTube, Instagram and others, seeking compensation for youth mental health crisis

Todd Bishop:

However, Seattle Public Schools appears to be the first school district in the country to file such a suit against the companies.

The district alleges that it has suffered widespread financial and operational harm from social media usage and addiction among students. The lawsuit cites factors including the resources required to provide counseling services to students in crisis, and to investigate and respond to threats made against schools and students over social media.

“This mental health crisis is no accident,” the suit says. “It is the result of the Defendants’ deliberate choices and affirmative actions to design and market their social media platforms to attract youth.”

At more than 90 pages, the suit offers extensive citations in support of its claims, including surveys showing a 30% increase from 2009 to 2019 in the number of Seattle Public Schools students who said they felt “so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more in a row that [they] stopped doing some usual activities.”

GeekWire overnight contacted the district for further comment on its suit, and each of the companies for their responses. We’ll update this story as we hear back.

Meta, the parent of Facebook and Instagram, has said in response to lawsuits by parents that it has implemented a series of tools and safety measures for teens and families using its services.

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