Harmful Effects of Social Media on Youth

Harmful Effects of Social Media on Youth

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Harmful Effects of Social Media on Youth

Social media is a huge part of most young people’s lives. According to a Pew Research Center survey from 2018, 45 percent of 13-17-year-olds are online almost constantly, with 97 percent using social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, TikTok, Snapchat, and others. However, the harmful effects of social media on youth can include:

  • Social media addiction
  • Exposure to cyberbullying
  • Lack of exercise
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Eating disorders
  • Fear of missing out
  • Anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems
  • Poor academic performance

If you or your child experienced harm from social media use, our lawyers want to hear from you. Morgan & Morgan has a track record of holding unscrupulous corporations accountable for the damage they cause. We could help you assert your rights and recover compensation. Contact us today to find out more in a confidential, free, no-obligation consultation.

Teens Can Get Addicted to Social Media

We have all seen them: teenagers entranced by their phones for hours on end, hardly noticing what is going on around them. Especially during the pandemic, teens understandably turned to social media to stay in touch and interact with their peers. However, when a teenager finds it impossible to tear themselves away from social media to interact with family, study for school, or partake in any other “real life” activities, they may be addicted.

A University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Brain Mapping Center experiment in 2016 found that when teens get likes on social media posts, the same reward centers in their brains activate that light up when they eat chocolate or win money. Since these reward centers are particularly sensitive in adolescence, the addictive effect of social media on teens can be high.

Signs Your Teenager May Have a Social Media Addiction

Social media is a big part of our lives, and turning back time is not an option. Seeing your teen interact on social media does not necessarily mean something is wrong. However, the following signs could point to a social media addiction:

  • Inability to disconnect from social media
  • Outbursts of anger when confronted about social media use
  • Neglecting schoolwork to spend time on social media
  • Agitation and irritability when unable to go online
  • Using social media to avoid dealing with problems or conflicts
  • Lower academic grades due to excessive social media use
  • Feeling guilty about not reacting to posts or messages immediately
  • Trying to hide social media use from parents

If your teen spends excessive time online, they may even begin to show physical symptoms from too much screen time, such as headaches, eye problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and insomnia.

The Consequences of Social Media Addiction

Excessive social media use leaves little time for other activities, including:

  • Time with family and friends
  • Hobbies and exercise
  • School and college studies
  • Chores

The teenage years are formative, laying the foundations for adulthood. Poor school performance and avoidance of social situations and friendships can cause long-term harm to a young person. Consequences of social media addiction can also include social isolation, eating disorders, depression, and poor self-esteem.

Actions to Take If Your Teen Excessively Uses Social Media

Social media is not all bad. For some teens, interacting on social media platforms can be a way to express themselves and find like-minded friends. However, if you worry about the harmful effects of social media on youth, there are some steps you can take to get your child’s social media use under control.  

Retain Your Teen’s Cell Phone at Night

Some teenagers use their social media accounts until late at night, which can interfere with sleep and lead to poor performance at school the next day. A simple but effective way to prevent this is to take the phone away overnight and let it charge up in a different room.

Limit Time on Social Media  
Consider limiting your child’s access to digital devices, such as tablets and cell phones, to specific times of the day. Be prepared to deal with resistance at first. However, managing your teen’s screen time is essential for their health and future.

Set Parental Controls

If you have older children, make sure you know their cell phone passwords. While this can seem like an intrusion into their private sphere, it is a necessary step to protect them from harm. The internet can be a dangerous place where strangers groom adolescents unbeknown to parents. Knowing your teen’s activities online can help you avoid hazardous situations.

Consider installing parental control apps on your teen’s phone. Parental controls allow parents to limit the amount of time their teen spends on devices. They can also shut off the device at night. Some apps enable you to see your child’s texts, photos, and messages.

Find Professional Help

In cases of severe social media addiction that interferes with your teen’s emotional and mental health, you may want to consider finding professional help. One-on-one psychotherapy or family therapy could treat a teen’s social media addiction and help them develop a healthier relationship with online media.

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  • Has Your Teen Suffered an Injury or Illness Due to Social Media Use?

    Those suffering physical or mental harm from social media often have to shoulder treatment costs alone. Since addiction to social media is not yet recognized as a medical condition by health insurance carriers, affected individuals may have to pay out of their own pockets for any treatments required, such as psychological counseling. However, you could have options for recovering damages from a social media company.

    Facebook Use Linked to Eating Disorders

    A study by the University of Haifa has shown a link between the amount of time adolescent girls spend on Facebook and the chance of developing a negative body image and eating disorders, including bulimia and anorexia.

    Social Media Could Harm Adolescents’ Mental Health

    According to the Mayo Clinic, social media use in adolescents is linked to higher levels of depression and anxiety. Children may be bullied or harassed on social media, leading to suicidal thoughts or self-harm behaviors. Families of teens who developed depression, suicidal thoughts, or other disorders from social media use could qualify for compensation.

    Morgan & Morgan Can Help You Get Justice

    We think it is unfair that families have to shoulder the financial burden of the harm caused by social media use. You should not have to pay for your damages, such as medical bills, income loss, and others, if a social media company is responsible. If your child experienced the following or other effects of social media use, we could help you receive compensation:

    • Eating disorders such as bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating
    • Self-harm or attempts to harm themselves
    • Attempted suicide
    • Body dysmorphia
    • Mental health disorders
    • Suicide

    Our determined lawyers could hold unethical social media companies accountable for your child’s mental and physical injuries due to social media addiction. What’s more, holding powerful social media corporations such as Meta to account can affect real change. Lawsuits can result in changes to the social media platforms themselves, lowering the risk of harming teens and other vulnerable users in the future.

  • Do I Have a Legal Case Against a Social Media Platform?

    You could have a claim against a social media giant such as Meta, the owners of Facebook and Instagram, or others if you or your child suffered harm due to social media use. Claimants have filed various lawsuits against social media giants to date, including product liability claims and wrongful death lawsuits. Social media companies may be negligent and liable for your damages if they:

    • Fail to safeguard children from harmful content
    • Lack of parental control and monitoring features
    • Fail to verify the identities and ages of users
    • Do not protect minors from harmful content or sexual exploitation

    Ultimately, the best way to determine whether you have a legal claim is to speak to a trusted and experienced attorney. Morgan & Morgan offers free consultations and can help you discover whether you qualify for compensation and could sue a social media platform.

  • What Are Some Recent Examples of Social Media Lawsuits?

    A flood of recent lawsuits documents just how dangerous social media can be for our youth. Some recent examples include:

    TikTok Challenge Deaths

    The families of two girls who passed away due to partaking in a challenge on the TikTok social media platform have sued the company, claiming its algorithms are to blame for the deaths. The victims were just eight and nine years old when they took part in the deadly “blackout” challenge in 2021.

    Eating Disorder Lawsuits

    Several lawsuits have been filed by parents whose teenage children suffer from eating disorders allegedly caused by Facebook. In July 2022, two families filed suit against Meta in San Francisco’s federal court. The families say that their teenage girls became addicted to social media and subsequently developed depression and eating disorders. Both girls were hospitalized several times and tried to commit suicide.

    Teen Suicide Due to Social Media Addiction

    The family of a Wisconsin teenager who committed suicide in 2015 sued Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram in April 2022, alleging that their son’s death occurred due to his addiction to social media.

    Unfortunately, there are countless other examples of recent lawsuits against social media platforms. If you think that you have a case, our compassionate attorneys can walk you through your options.

  • What Types of Damages Could I Recover With a Social Media Claim?

    The compensation you could receive will depend on the facts of your case, your financial losses, and the extent and severity of the injury. For example, if your teenager suffered from an eating disorder due to social media use, you could be entitled to the following damages and others:

    • Past and future medical costs
    • Hospital stays
    • Residential treatments
    • Psychological counseling expenses
    • Lost wages if you missed work to care for your child
    • Awards for emotional distress

    Since the worth of your case can be tricky to determine on your own, consider speaking to an experienced attorney who can calculate your present and future expected damages and assess the worth of your claim.

  • How Can Morgan & Morgan Help Me?

    Our attorneys work tirelessly for the injured, fighting lawsuits to hold powerful corporations accountable. We could help you get what you deserve if your child experienced harm from social media. Our attorneys can:

    • Determine your legal options and next best steps
    • Help you navigate the legal process from start to finish
    • Gather and review the relevant medical records and evidence
    • File a lawsuit against a social media company
    • Hire medical expert witnesses to testify on your behalf
    • Represent you at court hearings
    • Present your case in the strongest possible terms at trial

    With America’s largest personal injury law firm in your corner, you do not have to worry about anything. We have the resources and tenacity to handle your claim from beginning to end. Our attorneys are experienced trial litigators who leave no stone unturned in getting the best possible outcome for clients. We would never settle for less than what you truly deserve. Our fee is free unless and until we win.

  • Morgan & Morgan Is Here for You

    Every parent wants to keep their child away from harm. However, with social media so prevalent in our lives, supervising your child at all hours is practically impossible. Therefore, social media giants such as Meta and others must be called upon to protect our youth.
    The harmful effects of social media on youth, such as mental disorders and suicidal ideation, could negatively affect young people for years. However, if your child is affected, you have the right to demand answers. At Morgan & Morgan, we do not shy away from standing up to powerful global corporations on your behalf. Contact us now to find out whether you qualify for compensation in a free case review.

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