What Congressional Testimony Says About Child Mental Health and Social Media
You may be surprised to find that much of our Memphis social media mental health lawsuit began because of Congress, including our own Senator Marsha Blackburn.
Thanks to their investigation into social media’s impact on child privacy and mental health, we received a ton of data, testimonies, and documents that helped us better understand how these companies work—and what they’re doing to harm our children.
The Commerce Committee Hearings On Social Media and Child Mental Health
Because social media has such a huge impact on our lives, several Senate committees consider it part of their work.
For example, the Senate Commerce Committee oversees the regulation of consumer products and services. Most recently, this includes social media.
For the past few years, this committee explored how social media affects children. They interviewed experts on privacy and mental health and found shocking evidence of negligence and wrongdoing. Witnesses described social media’s connection to serious harm in children, including:
- eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia
- suicidal ideation and self-harm, and
- abuse and exploitation
Over months of these hearings, the lawmakers in this committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee all appeared shocked and offended by what the companies were doing. They found the companies collected enormous data on children, encouraged them to watch dangerous material, and helped them hide their engagement from their parents.
Then in the fall of 2021, a whistleblower named Frances Haugen (pictured) released hundreds of Facebook’s internal documents. And that changed everything.
Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat’s Testimonies
The Facebook Files, as they became known, revealed Meta’s knowledge of exactly how much its companies hurt kids. According to the documents, Facebook and Instagram executives:
- spoke openly in meetings about children blaming Instagram for suicidal thoughts
- knew the apps pushed content that encouraged eating disorders and self harm, and
- understood their sites were deeply addictive for children and teens.
And yet—despite all the research they themselves funded—the apps appeared to make no effort to fix the problem.
Instead, when dragged into Congress to testify, they described their sites as being wonderful places for children. They spoke of all the connection and community children find on social media—despite all the evidence children today have a harder time connecting than ever before.
The executives of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and others also focused on their written policies, instead of on reality. For example, when Instagram executives spoke about how young you had to be to use their app, they cited their 13+ policy. But in reality, much younger children signed on all the time, and they knew it.
The executives from across these platforms enraged the senators. They appeared to dodge questions, avoid accountability, and refuse to accept responsibility. Despite even testimonies about suicide and self-harm, nothing seemed to make them listen.
Well, maybe they’ll listen when the justice system comes for them.
So Does Social Media Harm Children?
The Senate Commerce and Judiciary Committees generally came to the same conclusions we have at our Memphis personal injury firm: Yes, social media harms children; and no, the companies aren’t doing enough about it.
Social media is a dangerous experiment currently played on our children’s brains. While some kids and teens may come out unscathed, many more have experienced addiction, depression, and anxiety.
As parents and child advocates testified, the apps have destroyed some children’s self-esteem, shown them how to harm their own bodies, and trained them to avoid parental oversight.
We believe the data, the witnesses, and the company’s own internal documents: social media hurts children, and parents should be fully warned.
Join Our Memphis Social Media Mental Health Lawsuit
For some children, the harm can’t be overstated. In fact, some families report their children needed treatment and hospitalization or even lost their lives because of social media.
Through our Memphis social media mental health lawsuit, we want to bring justice to those families and hold these companies accountable.
We are looking to speak with any family whose child is 23 or younger and was treated for eating disorders, abuse, self-harm or suicide related to their use of social media.
If you have experience with this, we’re so sorry. Our team is here to help you get compensation and make sure this never happens to another child. We will work with you individually and help build a case against these negligent companies. And we don’t win a thing unless you do.
To get started, just give us a call today at 901-327-2100 or fill out the form below.
Our children’s lives are worth far more than any social media company’s profits. Let’s show them so.
Social Media Case Inquiry
I would like to find out more about the social media lawsuit and see if I have a case.
If you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call 988 to reach the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. This is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone in the US 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.