According to the Pew Research Center, over 70% of Americans use some type of social media. Recent reports show that the endless scrolling is likely to have a negative influence on users’ mental health. A 2021 report by the US Surgeon General states, “Business models are often built around maximizing user engagement as opposed to safeguarding users’ health and ensuring that users engage with one another in safe and healthy ways… This translates to technology companies focusing on maximizing time spent, not time well spent.”
Herrman & Herrman is investigating claims that popular social media platforms and apps may have contributed to their users’ mental health issues and affecting their well-being. Evidence suggests that social media directly correlates with teen suicide and mental harm in teenagers and children. Today, there is mounting evidence that social media platforms have eschewed safety precautions for teens and young adult users, for the benefit of increased time on their platforms and increased users. The companies that run these social media platforms may have been aware of their effect on users, yet turned a blind eye or potentially exacerbated the problem.
Social Media Causes Mental Health Issues & More
Social media use may contribute to:
- Eating disorder: anorexia, bulimia, binge eating etc.
- Body dysmorphia
- Gender dysphoric disorder
- Sexual exploitation
- Self diagnosis of mental health disorder after viewing content from a mental health influencer.
Surveys indicate that more time spent on social media may correlate with poor self-esteem, feelings of isolation, body image issues, and other mental health concerns which can be serious or life-threatening. Companies should be held accountable and forced to change their processes.
Herrman & Herrman is located in Texas, with offices in Corpus Christi, Corpus Christi South Side, Brownsville, McAllen, San Antonio, Houston, and Ft. Worth, and can help victims suffering throughout the United States.
Toxic Social Media: Who is to Blame?
CEOs of some of the top social media sharing platforms have been accused of creating a toxic environment for teen users. Herrman & Herrman believes social media companies should be held accountable for the dangerous practices used to increase engagement at the cost of users’ mental health. Lawsuits may force companies to change their platforms and hold them accountable for the manipulation minor-aged users, resulting in wrongful deaths and other mental health related issues.
A study conducted from 2015 – 2020 revealed that using social media up to 9 hours a day can trigger feelings of isolation, depression, and anxiety. Users of social media platforms reported FOMO (fear of missing out) and a compulsive need to check social media feeds. Also found in the report were high numbers of cyberbullying (up to 50%), where these toxic patterns can spread abuse or destructive rumors that lead to long lasting harm.
Young adults reported suicidal behavior or experienced depression, anxiety, eating disorders, body dysmorphia, or other harm after using popular social media platforms. As these platforms promote photo sharing, after viewing highly edited and virtually impossible to achieve bodies of influencers, these young adults and teens, particularly women and girls, reported to company researchers in 2019 feelings of negativity about themselves after using the social media platforms. These researchers reported to upper management that mental health problems were affecting the teens using the platforms, yet the reports were minimized.
Along with the researchers’ reports, psychologists have noted a large number of teens that have self-diagnosed themselves with mental health disorders, such as tourettes, borderline personality disorder, multiple personality disorder, bipolar, and more, after watching content from mental health influencers (professionals and non-professionals) on social media.
More recently, in 2021, an employee of a large social media platform appeared on 60 minutes to detail information about how social media platforms promote engagement of their sites.
Social Media & Teen Suicide
Regulators and the public are revealing the link between social media and mental health, as well as the companies that were aware of the devastating impact of their products but failed to develop safer products that would jeopardize their huge profits. Instead of making their social media platforms safe, the platforms and apps may have contributed to an increased risk of teen suicide and other harmful behaviors in teens and tweens by doing the following:
Social media platforms were specifically designed to be highly addictive.
The algorithms and psychological manipulation, using artificial intelligence and operant conditioning, maximized screen time for vulnerable youth and directed them to harmful content.
Social media companies rely on Section 230 to avoid accountability for knowingly causing harm to vulnerable users
As social media use has risen amongst teens to nearly 97%, mental health concerns have also risen. In December 2021, the U.S. Surgeon General issued an advisory warning of mental health crisis among young adults, caused in part by their overuse of social media, including a 147% increase is suicide in the 12-16 age group.
People whose children developed suicidal thoughts or other self-harm behaviors or mental health conditions after using social media may be eligible for compensation.
Social media platforms have been accused of creating products that take advantage of teenagers’ and children’s limited self-control. Platforms use algorithms that may lead to addictive behavior and may direct teens to harmful content.
Social Media Companies Facing Lawsuits
Social media companies may be facing wrongful death and other lawsuits for harm caused by their platforms and apps. Lawsuits may seek compensation and seek to force changes to dangerous algorithms and other practices commonly used to manipulate teens on social media platforms.
Families and loved ones of teens and minors who developed suicidal thoughts or behaviors or experienced other harm due to social media use may be eligible for compensation.
How to Help Someone At Risk of Suicide?
If you know of or are concerned about someone who may be suicidal, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
Contact a Toxic Social Media Lawyer Now
Contact our motivated and experienced attorneys at Herrman & Herrman, P.L.L.C. for help. You want the experience of our attorneys on your side as you fight for the justice you deserve.
We provide legal representation to people who have been injured by others’ negligence in a range of cases.
The quicker we start working on your case, the better able we will be to protect your rights to seek full compensation. Contact us for a free initial consultation.