OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) — Oklahoma’s Attorney General is joining dozens of other states suing Meta Platforms Inc., accusing the company of fueling a youth mental health crisis with addicting features on Instagram and Facebook.
“Anxiety, depression, loneliness, body dysphoria…it’s having a terrible impact on this generation,” said AG Drummond in an interview with the station Tuesday.
“Parents are responsible for the behavior of their child, but Meta has given them a loaded stick of dynamite.”
In the newly-filed lawsuit more than a hundred page long, AG Gentner Drummond claims the company that owns Facebook and Instagram makes social media addictive to kids and teens.
Constant scrolling has contributed to a number of problems, including: anxiety, depression, loneliness and an unhealthy focus on body flaws.
Previously reported by the Associated Press, the lawsuit also claims the company routinely collects data on children under 13 without their parents’ consent.
“The addictive nature of the platform is having a deleterious effect on young people’s minds and bodies [but] we need to protect them,” Drummond added.
The lawsuit also says the “unfair and deceptive” conduct by the company comes at the expense of Oklahoma’s children and youth.
The company reportedly made $116.6 billion dollars in revenue in 2022.
” It [the company] would rather see young people suffer to not impair their profits. The day of accounting has now come,” he said.
Kendra Morgan, LADC, a therapist specializing in Behavioral Health Therapy said while social media engagement shows the connection youth have to the world and its people, reversing the damage can be a challenge.
“Even the adolescents that I have right here in my office, the phones are right here next to them,” she said to KFOR.
“It’s the validation that I find can be harmful to other people.”
Morgan’s observation is reflected in a new Gallup survey, noting teens spend about 4.8 hours on social media per day, on average.
Morgan said she’s not sure what impact a lawsuit will have on the use of social media.
“I don’t know But what I do believe helps is having safe adults in our lives that can help us through any type of struggle that our adolescents are having,” she said.
Okahoma’s Attorney General is demanding a jury trial.
The lawsuit also comes as the U.S. Surgeon General issued a social media health advisory earlier this year, about the potential effects online platforms have on kids and teens.