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.
Social Media’s psychological side effects
Social media addiction can result in a range of physical and psychological symptoms, such as:
- Negative body image
- Eating Disorders
- Injuries or death related to social media challenges
- 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.