CA school district files federal lawsuit against social media companies for adverse effects on kids

Lyanne Melendez Image
Friday, March 17, 2023
CA school district files federal lawsuit against social media giants
According to the lawsuit, the district wants the platforms to help pay for the costs spent addressing and reversing the harm done by social media.

SAN MATEO, Calif. (KGO) -- Studies have shown the adverse effects of too much screen time on social media.

Now the San Mateo County Schools have filed a lawsuit to hold social media companies accountable.

President Biden has taken a swing at social media companies for negatively influencing young people.

"We must finally hold social media companies accountable," President Joe Biden said.

Republican Senator Josh Hawley followed by introducing a bill to block children under 16 years old from social media.

RELATED: Pres. Biden calls for bipartisan support to 'hold social media companies accountable'

And now the San Mateo County Office of Education filing a lawsuit in Federal Court because of the impact the school district is seeing on their students.

"These social media platforms can be used to harm each other or to create havoc or to cause disrupting or to shame students for various identities or the way they look or sound," San Mateo County Superintendent Nancy Magee said.

"We're talking about children here," Ann Marie Murphy from Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy law firm said. "Their brains are developing and what happens to them while they're children carries through for their whole life."

Murphy is the attorney representing the school district.

RELATED: School district sues social media giants for 'creating a youth mental health crisis'

According to the lawsuit, the district is spending large sums of money addressing and reversing the harm done by social media platforms like YouTube, Snapchat and TikTok.

They want these companies to help pay for that.

"When we work with young people to help them, to help educate them about making responsible choices, all of that takes resources, it takes time, it takes money and it takes time away from learning," Murphy said.

That's not to mention the damage to property created by viral challenges which are executed by students.

Social media companies say they have put in place protections for young people and screen time reminders on their devices.

RELATED: 13-year-olds are too young for social media, US Surgeon General says

The lawsuit says it's not nearly enough.

The strategy now is to go after "big tech" the way "big tobacco" was targeted.

Remember, once upon a time, cigarette ads were associated with good times and great flavor.

"I'm not sure we'll convince young people not to use social media or fully educate them on the harm that can come from social media that why as parents, as a community, as schools we also need to be taking steps," Magee said.