Have you noticed that your child or teen can’t seem to sit through dinner or a movie night without their smartphone next to them? When you speak with your child or teen about their day, do they only discuss what happened online? Do they appear to be more pre-occupied with a virtual reality instead of a physical one? If you’re worried that your child might be addicted to social media but don’t understand what that looks like or even realize it’s possible, you should know that developing research suggests it is—and social media companies are well aware of it.
In recent years, a growing number of parents have noticed their children and teenagers are addicted to social media and that the addiction is actively harming their children’s and teen’s physical and emotional health and well-being. Legal action has begun in several forums to hold social media companies liable for selling such addictive products without any warnings to the harm that may come to those children using it. Schlesinger Law Offices, one of the country’s most trusted teams of trial lawyers, is prepared to to help parents and addicted children and teens; if enough claims are successful against social media giants, it might be the first step in making those companies improve the safety and functionality of their social media apps.
Social media apps that have shown the potential to be highly addictive to children and teens include:
- X (Twitter)
- And more
At Schlesinger Law Offices, we have built our reputation as a leading law firm for plaintiffs in highly complicated and contested cases, such as those involving the new yet serious problem of social media addiction. We are a multi-generational law firm with more than 70 years of experience, a long record of multimillion-dollar case results against corporate defendants, and a commitment to achieving great things for everyone who comes to us for help. If your child or teenager has become addicted to social media, reach out to us today to see if legal action can set things right and give your child happiness again that doesn’t rely on a smartphone screen.
Call (954) 467-8800 to start with a free consultation with our social media addiction attorneys.
Learn more about how we can help with your personal injury case during a free initial evaluation. Give our award winning attorneys a call at (954) 467-8800, or contact us online to schedule a time to speak with a member of our team.
Social media addiction is a new mental health issue because social media itself is relatively new. Currently, it is widely defined as a compulsory urge to use social media, especially when other circumstances make the use of it unsafe or inappropriate. Anyone can become addicted to social media but research shows that children and teenagers are more likely to become addicted because their brains, habits, and personalities are still developing.
Some of the most startling statistics and information* about social media addiction and overuse are:
- About 35% of teenagers have admitted that they use social media platforms “almost constant[ly]”.
- Nearly 45% of teenagers have admitted that social media overuse gets in the way of making in-person friends in other settings.
- Approximately 70% of teenagers have said that they have felt excluded from a group or situation solely due to social media.
- Studies have shown that social media overuse can impact the brain’s healthy development in children and teenagers.
Furthermore, nearly all aspects of most social media apps rely on algorithms, which are carefully constructed computer codes or calculations to put a certain result in front of the user more often than not. In terms of social media, algorithms are designed to analyze the content the user typically views and put similar content and information in front of them next. Social media companies are constantly working to improve their algorithms, so more and more appealing content is placed in front of the user with each use of the app. Put simply, social media companies are actively trying to addict their users by making it harder and harder to close the app; this strategy is particularly concerning among social media companies that know children and teenagers are the two largest user demographics.
Harm Caused by Social Media Addiction
Social media addiction is highly concerning, especially because the problems it can cause are difficult to see from the outside as a parent or guardian. It is no secret that most spaces online are not safe and friendly for everyone. As long as the internet has been widely available, people have used to it anonymously bully, belittle, and attack others. A child or teen who is addicted to social media may repeatedly be placed into spaces with online abusers but not be able to digitally walk away due to the addiction. The result, as growing research suggests, is that more children and teenagers today are at risk of serious problems stemming from issues with mental health and self-esteem, both of which can be eroded by frequent cyberbullying and exposure to violent or illicit social media posts.
Children and teenagers who are addicted to social media may be at a higher-than-average risk of:
- Body dysmorphia
- Eating disorders
- Social isolation
- Suicidal ideations
Signs of Social Media Addiction in Children & Teens
Your child might not be aware that they are addicted to social media. In fact, it would be unusual if they were, especially because social media apps are meant to cause addiction so subtly that it goes unnoticed by the user. As a parent or guardian, you will need to look for the initial warning signs that your child might be struggling with social media addiction.
Common warning signs of social media addiction in a child or teen include:
- Never spending time away from their smartphone.
- Getting upset when their smartphone is unavailable or runs out of battery.
- Not wanting to spend time with their offline friends.
- Being unable to eat a meal without using their smartphone at the same time.
- Starting trouble or fights at school due to recent irritability.
- Struggling with self-esteem or showing signs of depression.
Can Social Media Addiction Be Treated?
Psychologists and behavioral experts believe that social media addiction can be treated and eventually cured like other forms of addiction, especially those based on a dopamine reaction when engaging in a particular behavior like gambling, as opposed to a chemical addiction like nicotine addiction. The approach to treating social media addiction is currently directed toward engaging forms of therapy. The goal is to show children and teenagers with social media addictions that there are healthier ways to socialize and make friends where the risk of encountering unsafe content and abusive strangers is lower.
Treatments that may help alleviate the symptoms of social media addiction include:
- Adventure therapy
- Behavioral therapy
- Family therapy
- Equine therapy
Why Should Social Media Companies Be Liable?
In November 2023, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary Subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and Law hosted a discussion on the growing mental health crisis among teens and its link to social media. A Meta/Facebook whistleblower testified that the social media giant was fully aware of the risks of addiction and emotional abuse imposed by the company’s various apps yet did nothing to improve the situation and protect its younger users. The testimony is just the most recent building block that parents and attorneys are using to build strong claims against social media companies for marketing addictive products to children.
The same Subcommittee has proposed the “Kids Safety Online Act,” which would create regulations for social media companies to protect younger users from potential online dangers and social media addiction. While the bill needs to be workshopped and passed, it plays an important role in potential social media addiction lawsuits: it sets an example of what social media companies can do but won’t.
Ways to help curb social media addiction could include:
- Creating stronger parental controls.
- Prohibiting users under a certain age from logging into an app at all.
- Enforcing daily time limits for app usage.
- Limiting algorithm usage to lower intentional, addiction-triggering exposure to certain content.
- Hiring robust online security staff to react quickly and efficiently to reports of abuse or unsafe content.
- Implementing rewards programs that incentivize younger users to complete non-social media activities like reading, exercising, or spending time with parents and guardians.
The fact that there are many solutions to reduce the risk of social media addiction that most social media companies are not using, either unintentionally or intentionally, could translate to negligence. In a civil claim, negligence can indicate liability, and liability is used to determine who owes the plaintiff compensation and how much.
Damages in Social Media Addiction Lawsuits
You might be able to demand compensation for your affected child and your family if social media addiction has caused your child or teen to suffer emotionally, mentally, or physically. Our social media addiction lawyers know how to build a claim against powerful defendants. We aren’t afraid to take on any corporation if it means doing what is right not just for our clients but also for children across the country who are unknowingly exposed to addictive, unsafe social media content every day. Schlesinger Law Office is known to fight vigilantly in order to protect children and teenagers who are vulnerable.
Damages available in a successful social media addiction claim could include:
- Cost of any special care or therapy to treat social media addiction.
- Medical costs if your child hurt themselves due to unchecked social media cyberbullying.
- Non-economic damages related to your child’s emotional traumatization.
Learn More – Call Schlesinger Law Offices Today
Schlesinger Law Offices is the go-to law firm for parents who need to take the fight against social media companies that have shamelessly targeted their children with addictive, unsafe apps and algorithms. If your child or teenager is showing signs of social media addiction, don’t wait to reach out to us. We can help you understand the situation better and explain your legal options to pursue compensation and justice on behalf of your child and family. As trial lawyers, we can take your case to court if needed—whatever it takes to protect the well-being of your child.
Top reasons to pick Schlesinger Law Offices for your social media addiction claim:
- We have recovered more than $165 million in recent settlements and verdicts for product liability clients.
- We have brought successful product liability claims against major defendants, including automakers and Big Tobacco.
- We are a legacy law firm with more than 70 years of practice experience handling all types of injury claims and class action lawsuits.
- We are trial attorneys who are committed to seeing every case to its conclusion, which means litigating and appealing when necessary.
Let’s start today. Just call (954) 467-8800 and ask for a free case review with our social media addiction attorneys.
- “The Addictiveness of Social Media: How Teens Get Hooked” (Jefferson Health)
- “Teens, Social Media and Technology 2022” (Pew Research Center)
- “Teen Social Media Statistics 2023 [What Students and Parents Need to Know]” (Smart Social)
- “Negative social media effects according to teenagers in the United States as of April 2018, by emotional well-being” (Statista)
- “Social media and the Teen Mental Health Crisis” (U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary)
If you need a good lawyer call David Silverman.