San Mateo County Schools in California has filed a federal lawsuit against social media companies, including YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok, citing the adverse effects of excessive screen time on children.
The lawsuit seeks to hold the social media platforms accountable for their role in harming young people and wants them to help pay for the costs incurred by the school district in addressing and reversing the damage done.
The suit claims that social media can be used to bully and shame students, causing disruption and affecting their mental health.
The district’s attorney, Marie Murphy, argues that educating children about responsible choices takes resources, time, and money, which can detract from learning.
The lawsuit comes after President Biden and Republican senator Josh Hawley criticized social media companies for their negative impact on young people.
The district’s strategy is to target big tech companies the way tobacco companies were targeted in the past.
While social media companies claim to have protections and screen time reminders in place, the lawsuit argues that it’s not enough to address the harms that can result from excessive use of social media.