Parents File TikTok Lawsuit Claiming Videos Convinced Son to Commit Suicide

Parents File TikTok Lawsuit Claiming Videos Convinced Son to Commit Suicide

The psychological games used by social media platforms like TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to lure youth to their apps and keep them scrolling have had detrimental effects on the mental health of our youth. For some, the experience has been deadly. Parents are refusing to let these social media giants get away with the harm they are causing our children, and are seeking justice through the legal system.

Here is one tragic account where a Long Island teen’s family filed a TikTok lawsuit claiming the platform contributed to their son’s suicide.

Parents Sue TikTok Over Dangerous Videos  

Dean and Michelle Nasca’s 16-year-old son Chase showed no signs of mental illness or suicidality before downloading TikTok's video-sharing app. He excelled at school, participated in competitive sports, was close to his family, and had a large circle of friends.

Once Chase did download the app sometime around 2019 or 2020, he didn’t go there to watch violent videos. He sought out bench press tips, kitchen hacks, gym motivation, and motivational speeches. Instead, his feed was inundated with videos from “highly depressive, violent, self-harm, and suicide-themed accounts,” according to the family’s social media lawsuit.

On February 18, 2022, Chase was walking home from the gym when he sent a grim Snapchat message to a friend saying, “I can’t take it anymore.” Moments later, he stepped in front of an oncoming commuter train.

If you or a loved one is in immediate danger, call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or Text TALK to 741741.

TikTok’s Dangerous Algorithm

TikTok is a video-sharing app owned by Chinese internet technology company ByteDance. The app allows users to create, share, and view short video clips from other users. When you open the app, you are automatically shown an endless stream of videos through the “For You” feature. The app also has a “Following” feature.

The "Follow" feature shows videos of other users that the user has intentionally selected to follow. The "For You" feature curates videos to a user's specific interests through an algorithm that makes it "convenient to find videos and creators you love," according to the platform’s website.

According to social media youth harm lawsuits, platforms like TikTok used their algorithms and artificial intelligence to collect and analyze data from users, including teens and tweens, to employ addictive psychological tactics to keep them using the site. A Pew Research Center survey on social media use among teens found that 97% of teenagers ages 13 to 17 reported using at least one social media platform, and nearly half said they browse social media every day. As teens scroll through these apps, they are subjected to bullying and harassment, leading to mental health problems.

A JAMA Psychiatry study found that teens who used social media were more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, aggression, and suicidal behavior. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there was no significant change in the suicide rate among young people ages 10-24 between 2001 and 2007. But from 2007 to 2021, the suicide rate in this age group grew 62% — falling in step with the rise in popularity of social media platforms among young people.

Social Media’s psychological side effects

Social media addiction can result in a range of physical and psychological symptoms, such as:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Negative body image
  • Eating Disorders
  • Injuries or death related to social media challenges
  • Insomnia
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Self-harm or thoughts of self-harm
  • Suicide or suicidal thoughts

What do TikTok Lawsuits Claim?

Social media lawsuits, in general, claim that platforms and their parent companies failed to protect youth who used their apps and instead designed defective products (the apps themselves) to be intentionally addictive and exploit the minds of youth.

Dean and Michelle Nasca’s TikTok lawsuit claims that TikTok users under 14 in China, where TikTok parent company ByteDance is based, have regulated and age-appropriate content. But the platform provides no such protections for young users in the U.S.

“Chase did not die because TikTok allowed suicidal content to be posted to its platform or because it failed to adequately monitor or remove such content,” the lawsuit states. “He died because of the TikTok Defendants’ decision in the design, programming, and continued operation of TikTok’s technologies (things like metrics, data input, and operation speed) in the products TikTok distributes to U.S. teens.”

What are the Criteria for Filing a TikTok Lawsuit?

In October 2022, as the number of social media lawsuits climbed, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation consolidated the lawsuits into a multi-district litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California under Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers. An MDL is a legal process the federal government uses to handle complex civil cases involving a large number of lawsuits with similar complaints.

You may qualify for a social media lawsuit if you or your child meet the following criteria:

  • Are addicted or believe you may be addicted to one or more social media platforms
  • Suffered physical or psychological harm due to the addiction
  • Were younger than 25 when the addiction began

Contact a Lawyer to Discuss Your TikTok Lawsuit

If you or your child suffered harm from using TikTok or another social media platform, you may have grounds to file a lawsuit against the platform and seek compensation. The experienced mass tort lawyers at Legal Lawsuit News can help you hold these tech giants responsible for failing to protect youth from harm. Contact us today at 866-467-0943 or through our online contact form for a free and confidential consultation.


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has represented over 11,000 injury victims and has served as lead counsel in over 1000 lawsuits. Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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