Canadian School Boards Take Legal Action Against Social Media Giants for Disrupting Education

Canadian School Boards Take Legal Action Against Social Media Giants for Disrupting Education | Future Education Magazine


Source- Turkiye Newspaper

Canadian school boards have initiated legal proceedings against TikTok, Meta, and Snapchat, alleging that these platforms are negatively impacting student learning and well-being.

The lawsuits, launched by the Toronto District School Board, the Peel District School Board, the Toronto Catholic District School Board, and the Ottawa-Carleton District School Board, target Meta Platforms Inc., Snap Inc., and ByteDance Ltd., the respective owners of Facebook and Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok.

According to Rachel Chernos, a trustee for the Toronto District School Board, social media platforms have become inherently addictive, leading to social withdrawal, anxiety, cyberbullying, and attention issues among students. Chernos emphasized the platforms’ role in targeting and marketing addictive features to young people, causing significant harm that cannot be ignored.

Canadian School Boards Sue Social Media Firms Over Student Well-being

The legal action follows similar lawsuits in the United States, with several states suing Meta Platforms Inc. over allegations of harming young people’s mental health by designing features on Instagram and Facebook to addict children to their platforms.

The Canadian school boards are seeking damages exceeding $4 billion Canadian dollars for the disruption caused to student learning and the education system.

In response, Snap Inc. spokeswoman Tonya Johnson stated that Snapchat prioritizes user connection and does not feature traditional public likes or comments. However, representatives of Meta and ByteDance have not yet responded to requests for comment.

Duncan Embury, a lawyer representing the school boards, highlighted the addictive nature of social media algorithms and the need for stricter age parameters and increased resources for schools to address this issue. He criticized the companies for prioritizing engagement over student well-being and education.

Rising Concerns Spark Calls for Regulation in Teen Social Media Use

The pervasive use of social media among teenagers is a global phenomenon, with almost all teens in the United States reporting usage and a significant portion indicating near-constant engagement. Concerns about the impact of social media on youth mental health have prompted calls for action from public health officials and lawmakers.

In the United States, Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has urged tech companies, parents, and caregivers to take immediate steps to protect children from the harms of social media. Meanwhile, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis recently signed a bill banning social media accounts for children under 14 and requiring parental permission for older teenagers, indicating growing recognition of the need for regulation in this area.

The outcome of the Canadian lawsuits remains uncertain, with attorneys only receiving compensation if successful in their legal pursuit.

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