Meta’s parents are suing, alleging teenage daughter’s eating disorder is linked to Instagram addiction

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The parents of a 19-year-old girl are suing Meta, alleging that their daughter became addicted to Instagram at a minor age, which ultimately provoked an eating disorder and suicidal thoughts.

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In a personal injury lawsuit filed Monday in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California and received by USA TODAY, Kathleen and Jeff Spence detail their daughter, Alexis, starting Instagram at age 11 — two years younger than the platform’s required age of 13 — and gradually consumed by her appearance and perception of others as an obvious hotspot for her subsequent mental health issues.

In a lawsuit filed with the Social Media Victims Law Center, the family alleges that Alexis’s addiction to the social media app began at a young age and resulted in numerous traumas, including “addiction, anxiety, depression, self-harm.” , eating disorders and, ultimately, suicidal thoughts.” The Spences claim they have suffered “emotional and financial damage due to the Meta’s addictive design” and are seeking monetary damages in the form of “past and present” medical expenses plus “future loss of income.” Namely, they call for accountability for making the app safer for teens.

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“The fact that Alexis is here is a real miracle, because we fought hard for her,” said Kathleen Spence. good morning america. “We did everything we could for her. We gave her the help she needed on several levels, and there were times when we were very worried about her safety.”

Meta refers to a parental control block on its website for minors and contains a disclaimer for the use of its products at a young age. Direct messages made by USA TODAY to Meta were not returned immediately.

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Although Alexis was treated for mental illness as a teenager, according to court documents, her parents claim that the symptoms she experienced were a direct by-product of the Meta creating the way she needed to look to fit in with the popular crowd. The lawsuit also mentions that the Meta showed provocative images of self-harm, which Alexis ended up picking up herself.

The lawsuit cites Facebook Documents, documents first published by The Wall Street Journal in October 2021. and released informant Francis Haugen, a former product manager at a technology company. These documents showed that Facebook, as a company, commissioned research into the potential harm that negative content caused on its platforms. They showed that company executives were aware of one study that showed that one in three teenagers was worse off describing their body because of Instagram.

The Spences are being represented in the lawsuit by Matthew Bergman, a lawyer who filed a separate lawsuit in February against Meta and another social network on behalf of a mother who alleges that the “negligence” of the companies’ products allegedly led to her daughter’s suicide. .

“We are all for parental responsibility. This family has done everything they should have done with parental product protection, but the nature of Instagram is that they are designed to avoid parental authority,” Bergman told USA TODAY. “The only unusual thing about this case is that Alexis, by the grace of God, is here to talk about it. So many families that I spoke to, the child failed to recover or they committed suicide.”


Credit: www.usatoday.com /

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