Washington superintendent has eye on Seattle schools’ social media lawsuit
Washington state Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal says his office will take a close look at Seattle Public Schools’ lawsuit against several social media companies, but there are no current plans for his office to get involved.
At a news conference Monday, Reykdal said social media has created a different experience for young people than adults realize. He noted the positive attributes of social media – its ability to educate, advance knowledge, question and connect people. But its effects don’t end there, he argued, saying the lawsuit is an “important way to shed light on a critical issue.”
“You can’t just sell the positive side of it without knowing that some of the darker things that students see are there,” he said. “And that also has an impact and an impact. These devices are with them every day … We were isolated. We had a chance to go through hard times, bumps and bruises, puberty and bullying and other difficult things in a world where this happened. “Follow us home. It wasn’t there when we woke up in the morning, it wasn’t in our faces in text and print, on social media and in messages.”
“There’s something profoundly different about being a young person on planet Earth today. And if this lawsuit shines a light on that and if the industry asks itself hard questions about how to double down on protecting young people, I think that’s great.”
SPS is suing Snapchat, YouTube, TikTok and Meta (Instagram and Facebook), claiming they are creating a mental health crisis among students. The Associated Press further reports that the lawsuit argues that the companies have created a public nuisance by targeting social media products at children. He notes that a whistleblower in 2021 revealed that Instagram knew its platform negatively affected teenagers, damaging their perceptions of body image and exacerbating eating disorders and suicidal thoughts. The school district is seeking damages, payment for overuse treatment and more.
Reykdal adds that the suicide rate among public school students fell during the pandemic, but rose in 2022. He also says there is evidence that the tech industry has done much to help young people and their families.
“Unfortunately, others are hiding behind some American ideology and unfortunately this is hurting our young people,” Reykdal said. “It’s not okay to say whatever you want, wherever you want. In fact, sometimes it’s illegal. Some words are harmful, dangerous, hate speech, and we need to figure out how to limit that in a way that’s within to the law. , protect people’s First Amendment rights, but our children wear this. So I welcome anything that changes the conversation, and frankly moves it in some cases to the states. Because I think, if I can be To be honest with you, the rules are pretty well cooked up at the federal level to insulate people from any meaningful responsibility, the same way we see gun violence never falls on those who should be taking much greater responsibility.”
Dyer Oxley contributed to this report.