Pennsylvania has joined 32 other states in a federal lawsuit against Meta Platforms, Inc., the parent company of Facebook and Instagram. The lawsuit alleges that Meta’s social media platforms violate consumer protection laws by exposing young users to harmful, manipulative, and addictive content.
Pennsylvania Attorney General Michelle Henry has voiced strong opposition against these practices, stating, “The time has come for social media giants to stop trading in our children’s mental health for big profits.” She further accused Meta of promoting a “click-bait culture” that is psychologically damaging to children.
This action follows an advisory issued in May by the U.S. Surgeon General, which implicated unfavorable social media company practices in contributing to a “youth mental health crisis.” The crisis has had severe effects, including suicides, acts of violence, and hindering the potential of an entire generation of young people.
While the legal proceedings are underway, with Senior Deputy Attorney General Tim Murphy and Deputy Attorney General Jonathan Burns representing Pennsylvania, the Pa Family Support Alliance (PFSA) is championing the cause of Family Digital Wellness. The organization aims to provide families with the tools and resources they need to protect their children online.
“Legislation and legal filings alone aren’t enough to protect our children and stem the youth mental health crisis,” said a representative from PFSA. The organization commended Attorney General Henry and the other attorneys general involved in this filing for prioritizing the mental health of children and teenagers.
In addition to the legal measures, there are legislative efforts to curb the influence of social media companies on children. In Pennsylvania, Sens. Kristin Phillips-Hill (R-York) and Vincent Hughes (D-Philadelphia) are leading a bipartisan effort to empower parents with more control over their children’s access to these platforms. Their proposed legislation, SB22, is currently under consideration in the Senate.
The lawsuit and legislative efforts underscore the growing concern over the impact of social media platforms on the mental health of young users. As the legal battle continues, the emphasis remains on protecting children and teenagers from potentially harmful digital content and practices.
From MyChesCo, October 27, 2023