April 21, 2024
  • 4 Canadian school boards have filed a lawsuit against Meta, TikTok owner ByteDance, and Snapchat on Thursday for disrupting education and harming young users
  • They are seeking $4 billion Canadian (US$2.9 billion) in damages
  • The lawyers representing the school boards won’t be paid unless they win

4 Canadian School Boards Sue Three Social Media Giants

Four of the largest school boards in Canada have filed a lawsuit against social media giants for being addictive, disrupting student learning, and harming their mental health. The lawsuit seeks CA $4 billion (US$2.9 billion) in damages.

The lawsuit was filed on Thursday against Meta, TikTok owner ByteDance, and Snapchat by the following boards:

  • Peel District School Board
  • Toronto Catholic District School Board
  • Toronto District School Board
  • Ottawa-Carleton District School Board

More than 1,000 schools are affiliated to these boards. The case is being represented by Toronto-based law firm, Neinstein LLP.

What Do the Plaintiffs Have to Say?

The lawsuit said that these platforms are “designed for compulsive use, and have rewired the way children think, behave, and learn.” The teachers are left to deal with the consequences.

Rachel Chernos, a trustee for the Toronto District School Board, said that both teachers and parents have noticed an increase in attention issues, anxiety, cyberbullying, body dysmorphia, and other mental health problems.

This has forced the schools to spend millions on hiring youth counselors, social workers, and other experts.

The lawsuit also mentions that half of the students in Ontario barely get enough sleep because they are hooked onto these apps.

Another major problem is anonymous accounts targeting students and staff with hateful messages, false allegations, and threats of violence, vandalism, and even shootings.

The plaintiffs believe that these apps have been intentionally made addictive so that young people spend more time online. They also accused the apps of intentionally fueling viral challenges that are unsafe and ignoring cyber problems (like the ones mentioned above).

Representatives from the board said that these platforms have already done enough harm and they just can’t ignore the problem anymore.

Duncan Embury, a lawyer for the firm representing the school boards also has a few suggestions.

1. Acknowledging the addictive design of the algorithms, he said that it’s high time the apps impose proper warnings and age restrictions on their content.

2. He also feels that schools need more resources to be able to adapt to this new digital reality.

Although Meta has yet to respond, Snapchat and TikTok have made official statements.

Tonya Johnson, the official spokesperson for Snapchat said that the app only helps people stay connected to their friends and families – and that it has two major differences from other social media apps:

  • Unlike other apps, Snapchat doesn’t have a feed of content or short videos.
  • There’s no public count of likes or comments – metrics that might make teenagers addicted to validation.

While the company did accept that there will always be room for improvement, it is quite confident in Snapchat‘s present capability of keeping everyone connected to their loved ones while being completely safe for young users.

TikTok, on the other hand, said that it has already introduced safety features like parental control that allows parents to limit the time their kids spend on the app.

It’s worth noting that just over a month ago, the EU issued a probe into TikTok for child safety monitoring & possible content violation. Moreover, a month before that, Iowa brought a lawsuit against TikTok accusing it of misleading parents about child protection. Plus, as you may already know, TikTok is all set to be banned in the US because of its Chinese heritage.

Canada isn’t the only one worried about the impact of these social media apps. Last year in May, 33 US states sued Meta for causing mental health problems among young children and teenagers.

Several studies have shown that platforms like Facebook and Instagram are indeed addictive and their long-term usage can lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression.

The bigger problem is that these social media apps are widely used.

  • Almost every single teenager in the US between the ages of 13 to 17 use at least one of these social media apps
  • One-third of them are reportedly constantly online

This week, Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill that bans the use of social media for children under 14 and requires parental supervision for children between 14 and 15. The bill will be effective from January 1 but is likely to face legal challenges.

As for the lawsuit filed by the Canadian school boards, it remains to be seen what the court has to say.

free coins
free coinsfree coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins
free coins

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *