Tammy Rodriguez, the mother of a late daughter, has sued the parent company of Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat, accusing these platforms of contributing to addiction and causing the suicide of her late daughter Selena. The lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of California Court in San Francisco.
For years, social media companies have been the target of various lawsuits related to harms affecting minors, often for failing to properly prevent such harms from happening again. This is precisely the case of a teenager who committed suicide following intimidation via the Snapchat messaging application.
On this point, the mother of the deceased firmly maintains that these platforms are only designed to generate fundamentally harmful incidents, such as the case of her daughter.
Over-reliance on social media led to 11-year-old girl’s suicide
For two years, Selena suffered from an over-reliance on social media, a fact that was confirmed by a psychiatrist. According to her mother’s statement, the overuse of social media led her daughter to neglect her studies and even caused eating disorders, lack of sleep, depression and self-harm. And she ended up killing herself.
In addition, the general conditions of use of Instagram and Snapchat indicate that the minimum age to open an account is 13 years old. However, Selena is still too young to be admitted to both platforms. Which means that the parental controls of these platforms are faulty and vulnerable because they could not prevent an 11-year-old girl from accessing the services. Tammy Rodriguez also claimed during the trial that the only way to stop her daughter from accessing social media was to confiscate her mobile devices.
Are social media solely responsible for this excessive dependence of underage users?
Rodriguez argues Snapchat’s surprise rewards are the same as the slot machine, promoted to teenage users to get them addicted except for Snap users the damage is even more sensitive and dangerous. According to her, Instagram is also a way to exploit the sensitivity of the user by promising unpredictable and uncertain rewards, in the form of likes and followers. She therefore sees social media as a threat to the well-being of adolescents and prepubescents.
However, the study by the Educational Policy Institute reveals that social media is not solely responsible for this excessive addiction. Parents also play a role in this problem. Parents should lead by example in teaching their children how to use technology devices in a healthy way. Additionally, Engadget has attempted to obtain Meta and Snapchat’s opinion regarding these charges, but Snapchat has not commented on the specifics of the dispute. He just replied: We are devastated to learn of Selena’s passing and our condolences to her family, and most important to us is the well-being of the community. “.