A growing number of lawsuits are being filed against social media companies like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, alleging that teens suffered physical and mental injuries after becoming addicted to social media. This page will explain the eligibility criteria for bringing a social media addiction lawsuit and how our firm screens potential social media addiction cases.
About the Social Media Addiction Lawsuits
Over the last few years, a wave of injury lawsuits have been filed against social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and others, alleging that teens became addicted to these platforms and suffered physical and mental damage as a result. The social media lawsuits are based on two primary allegations: (1) the social media companies knowingly designed their platforms to get teenagers addicted to using them, and (2) addiction to social media caused significant physical and mental harm to younger users.
Research on teen addiction to social media has increasingly highlighted the substantial damages and adverse effects on adolescents’ mental and emotional well-being. Numerous independent and social media companies’ studies underscore the potential harm associated with excessive usage of platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and others.
These studies have shown a clear correlation between extended hours spent on social media and an increased risk of mental health problems among teenagers, including depression, anxiety, and even suicidal thoughts. The addictive nature of social media platforms, designed to maximize user engagement and exploit psychological vulnerabilities, contributes to various problems. Dopamine-driven feedback loops, triggered by features like “likes” and notifications, can lead to a detrimental cycle of seeking constant validation, resulting in feelings of inadequacy when not received.
Social media addiction lawsuits are being brought by parents and/or teens who became addicted to social media and suffered severe injuries (mental and physical). The lawsuits accuse the social media companies of deliberately designing their platforms to be addictive and negligently failing to warn about the potential risks of that addiction.
Who is Eligible to File a Social Media Addiction Lawsuit?
To qualify for a social media addiction lawsuit, potential plaintiffs need to be able to establish the following criteria:
- Teen Addiction to Social Media: First, prospective plaintiffs will need to show that they (or their teenage child) developed an addiction to one or more social media platforms. The addiction would need to be something beyond the level of normal teen use.
- Teen Suffered Qualifying Injuries: The second criterion to qualify for a social media addiction lawsuit is that the plaintiff must be able to show that they (or their teenage child) suffered one of the recognized injuries related to social media addiction: eating and feeding disorders; depressive disorders; anxiety disorders; obsessive-compulsive and related disorders; disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders; suicidal ideation; self-harm; and suicide.
Injuries In the Social Media Addiction Lawsuits
The addictive nature of social media platforms has been linked to several injuries in teens. Each of these injuries is discussed below in more detail.
Eating disorders linked to social media have become a distressing and well-documented phenomenon, particularly among adolescents and young adults. The pervasive influence of social media platforms, with their emphasis on curated images and societal beauty standards, can contribute to the development and exacerbation of eating disorders in vulnerable individuals.
Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions characterized by unhealthy behaviors and attitudes toward food, weight, and body image. These disorders often stem from genetic, biological, psychological, and environmental factors. The most common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder, each presenting distinct symptoms and challenges.
Individuals with anorexia nervosa exhibit an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted body image. Restricting food intake, extreme dieting, and excessive exercise are common behaviors. Physical consequences may include severe weight loss, fatigue, dizziness, and amenorrhea (absence of menstrual periods).
Bulimia nervosa is characterized by recurrent episodes of binge eating followed by compensatory behaviors to prevent weight gain. Compensatory behaviors may include vomiting, laxative use, excessive exercise, or fasting. Individuals with bulimia often maintain a relatively normal weight, making it challenging to detect.
Binge-eating disorder involves consuming large amounts of food in a short period, accompanied by a lack of control during these episodes.
Teen depression, also known as adolescent depressive disorder, is a serious mental health condition characterized by persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and a lack of interest or pleasure in activities. Depression in teenagers can have a significant impact on various aspects of their lives, including academic performance, relationships, and overall well-being. Social media addiction has been shown to increase the risk of depression among teens.
Depression can affect concentration, memory, and motivation, decreasing school performance. Teens with depression may struggle with interpersonal relationships and withdrawing from friends and family. Depression can manifest in physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue.
Social media addiction can contribute to and exacerbate anxiety in individuals. The constant use and engagement with social media platforms can lead to various stressors and negative impacts on mental health.
Constant exposure to curated and idealized images on social media can lead individuals to compare their lives to others, fostering feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem. Social media platforms often use features like likes and comments to measure popularity or approval. Constantly seeking validation through these metrics can create anxiety when expectations are not met.
The continuous stream of information on social media can be overwhelming, leading to information overload and a heightened state of stress or anxiety. Social media can create pressure to conform to societal standards or trends, fostering anxiety about one’s appearance, lifestyle, or achievements.
Many social media addiction lawsuits are alleging that teenagers who became hooked on social media ended up committing suicide as a result of the mental harm caused by the addiction. This is clearly the most severe injury alleged in the social media lawsuits.
Self-harm can include things like cutting and self-mutilation. Harmful content encountered on social media can lead to this, and there are also indications that some teens engage in self-harm as a means of coping with distress arising from online interactions.
Contact Us About a Social Media Addiction Lawsuit
If you or your teenage child meets these criteria for a social media addiction lawsuit, call us today at 800-553-8082 for a free consultation or contact us online.