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A wrongful death lawsuit has been filed against social media platforms after the suicide of a Wisconsin teenager

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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV) – A wrongful death lawsuit in the suicide of a 17-year-old Wisconsin boy was filed Tuesday that alleges companies that run Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat knowingly sold social media products designed to be created. addictive for minors and lead to harmful results.

The Social Media Victims Law Center (SMVLC) has filed a lawsuit against Meta Platforms, Inc. and Snap, Inc. for the death of 17-year-old Christopher J. “CJ” Dawley.

The Salem native was an honor student who participated in numerous extracurricular activities until 2012, when he joined Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, according to SMVLC.

Over the course of two years, the law firm says Dawley became addicted to platforms, which caused issues including sleep deprivation and body image issues. After developing pain in his legs in 2014, the law firm says Dawley decided to take his own life due to the belief that the body was permanently deficient.

The teenager’s parents, Chris and Donna Dawley, have said that while no amount of money could ever compensate them, they hope their actions will hold social media platforms accountable.

“If our efforts to hold these companies accountable for children’s exposure to their deadly products saves even one family from feeling the pain our family has suffered over the loss of CJ, our fight will be. worth it,” said Chris Dawley.

SMVLC founder Matthew P. Bergman said he believed social media companies designed their websites to be addictive for minors and were aware of the unwanted side effects that would occur in minors using their products.

“Congressional testimony showed that meta-platforms and Snapchat were aware of the addictive nature of their products and failed to protect minors in the name of more clicks and additional revenue,” Bergman said. “We call on the parent companies of Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat to prioritize the health and well-being of its users by putting safeguards in place to protect minors from the danger of cyberbullying and sexual exploitation plaguing the world. their platforms.

Safeguards the legal center hopes to put in place if the case is won include verifying the age of minors, implementing increased parental controls, protecting minors from viewing harmful content, protecting minors against sexual exploitation and abuse, creating non-addictive social media products. , and inform parents about the dangers of minors using social networks.

If you or someone you know is in crisis, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. You can also text HELLO to 741741.

Copyright 2022 WMTV. All rights reserved.

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