DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Ohio and 33 other states progress in their federal lawsuit against Meta.
The lawsuit accuses Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook of the following:
- uses harmful features towards young users
- did not care about harm algorithm caused
- lied about the damage their algorithm caused
- collected data from users under 13 without parental consent
- has harmful business practices that harm mental/physical health
Ninety percent of teens in the U.S. have social media. Large portions of them are falling into dangerous mental health spaces that may be the result of over-using social media.
Social media experts say large social media companies will have to rethink how they target children as potential users.
“Companies are going to have to make changes to their technology and their product design to comply with these pieces of legislation that are being proposed and that could potentially impact revenue and even ultimately change certain business model approaches,” said Greta Mcanay, CEO of Blue Fever Mental Health Organization.
Local and national experts are weighing in on the negative impacts social media has had on children. Dr. Melissa Spirek, a social science professor who studies children’s screen time says that there are serious effects as a result of what the giant social media’s company have been doing for years.
“There’s definitely positive aspects but there are genuine documented harm as well,” said Spirek.
Research suggests girls ages 11-13 and boys ages 13-15 are most at-risk for long-term social effects like lower confidence, anxiety and depression by age 19.
“Social media is not going anywhere. And if we don’t teach young people how to engage and use social media responsibly, then they become adults who don’t know how to use social media responsibly,” said Derrick Green, assistant dean of communication at Cedarville University.
Experts recommend spending time on social media with your children. Regardless of age, it’s important to practice self-control, self-monitoring, and self-limitations.
“Moving forward, we must find ways to help prepare our children and teens for how to use that tool in a healthy way to bring people together to harness those positive benefits, or else we will see people experiencing more and more of the harmful effects,” said Dr. Jordan Allison, psychologist at Mercy Health.
Allison says as the lawsuit unfolds, parents and those in charge of children need to find healthy solutions on their own to combat the growing problem.