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Canadian school boards sue TikTok, Meta and SnapChat - platforms are interfering with children's lives and education

Canadian school boards sue TikTok, Meta and SnapChat - platforms are interfering with children's lives and education
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Four of the largest school boards in the Canadian province of Ontario have initiated legal proceedings against TikTok, Meta, and SnapChat, alleging that social media platforms are disrupting the learning process. The plaintiffs are seeking damages exceeding 4 billion Canadian dollars ($2.9 billion) for the disruption of student education and the educational system. No money will be paid to lawyers handling these lawsuits unless they win.

The suits claim that platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, "designed for compulsive use, have changed how children think, behave, and learn," and teachers are left to deal with the consequences.

Rachel Chernos, a spokesperson for the Toronto District School Board, stated that teachers and parents are noticing social withdrawal, anxiety, attention problems, cyberbullying, and mental health issues.

"These companies deliberately created programs that cause addiction and target young people, which does significant harm. We simply cannot stand by and not talk about it," Chernos said.

Dozens of states in the U.S., including California and New York, have also sued Meta for harming young people and contributing to the youth mental health crisis by consciously and deliberately designing features in Instagram and Facebook that create dependence on their platforms.

Duncan Embury, a lawyer representing the Canadian plaintiffs, says there is a real problem of addiction to Meta's developed algorithms. In his opinion, proper warnings are needed, age parameters need to be changed, and the level of resources that school boards receive to adapt to the new reality needs to be increased. He says that companies intentionally and negligently designed their products to maximize the amount of time young people spend on their platforms at the expense of their well-being and education.

This week, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed a law banning social media accounts for children under 14 and requiring parental consent for 14-15-year-olds. It will take effect on January 1 and is expected to face legal challenges.

Source: Associated Press

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