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Mother sues social media platforms after daughter’s suicide

An 11-year-old girl commits suicide, mom files a complaint.


Connecticut’s Selena Rodriguez committed suicide when she was just 11 years old. Now her mother has filed a lawsuit, partly blaming social media platforms for causing the girl’s death. The lawsuit was filed late last month specifically against Meta and Snap. Meta is the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, and Snap is the parent company of Snapchat.

In court documents, Tammy Rodriguez claims that “faulty design, negligence and unreasonable dangerous characteristics of Meta and Snap products led to her daughter, Selena Rodriguez, committing suicide last July.” The lawsuit continues that Selena suffered “severe mental harm, resulting in physical injuries from the use of social media Platforms… the social media giants have failed to provide adequate safeguards against harmful and exploitable content.

” We continue [Meta Platforms Inc. and Snap Inc.] for designing an algorithm that is addictive for children,” said family attorney Matthew Bergman, founder of the Social Media Victims Law Center (SMVLC).

Photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

Selena obviously struggled “for over two years” with an addiction to Instagram and Snapchat. She was hospitalized for emergency psychiatric treatment and reportedly became violent when her mother tried to take her phone away from her.

“We definitely started to notice that she stopped interacting with us, and she was very reclusive towards the end of everything, and she always wanted to be on the phone,” said Destiny, Selena’s older sister. “I think she got addicted to it.”

The lawsuit also claims that Selena has been “solicited for sexually exploitative content and acts on numerous occasions by adult male users” while using the platforms.

Dr. Yalda Uhls, founder and director of UCLA’s Center for Scholars and Storytellers, said, “The internet and social media [media] were not invented for young people. A third of their users worldwide are under the age of 18. And so there’s a lot of people advocating for child-centered design – so thinking about developmental phases and what’s appropriate for each age and stage and building that into the design.

A Snap spokesperson said the app works closely with “many Mental Health organizations to provide in-app tools and resources to Snapchatters as part of our ongoing work to keep our community safe. The company added: “We are devastated to learn of Selena’s passing and our hearts go out to her family. While we cannot comment on specifics of the active litigation, nothing is more important to us than the well-being of our community.”

A Meta spokesperson said: “Our hearts go out to the families affected by these difficult issues. As this is an ongoing legal matter, we are unable to comment further at this time.

“I believe they don’t intend for this to happen, but if the foreseeable consequences of their faulty product lead to these horrible results, then they are not only legally but morally responsible,” Bergman said of the platforms. .

Nicole A. Foubister, clinical assistant professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at New York University, said younger users are more likely to develop addiction because “the prefrontal cortex doesn’t is not fully developed and will not be until your twenties. At 11 years old, using social media, it can be very difficult to know when to stop, to know when to step back, to know how to set appropriate time limits, because those parts of the brain that help us do that are not developed.

Sources:

Mum is suing social media giants for allegedly driving her 11-year-old daughter to suicide

Mother of 11-year-old who died by suicide sues social media companies Meta and Snap


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