For years, there has been a suspected link between social media overuse and a higher risk of suicide and suicidal ideation among teenagers. Recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and peer-reviewed studies logged with the National Library of Medicine have uncovered more evidence to confirm this suspicion. According to the CDC and other public health organizations, the rate of teen suicides increased more than 30% between 2007 and 2015, which coincides with a similarly increasing rate of social media use among this age group.
A study published by the Pew Research Center concluded that the heightened risk of suicidal ideation among teens coincided not just with how often social media apps and platforms were used, but also with what types of content were being accessed. Teens who use social media for at least two hours a day will reportedly suffer a decline in mental health, regardless of the content and app they use. But teens who engage in personal posts like selfies, journaling, and stories—opposed to teens who use social media for entertainment—are at a higher risk of suicidal ideation than others. Furthermore, teens who regularly encounter cyberbullying online can be at the highest risk of suicidal ideation.
The Pew Research Center study found that approximately:
- 46% of teen social media users felt overwhelmed by the drama and cyberbullying on social media apps.
- 43% felt pressured to only post content that would make them “look good to others.”
- 37% felt pressured to only post content that can get a lot of likes and comments.
- 26% felt worse about their own life due to what they saw on social media.
What Can Be Done About Social Media’s Link to Teen Suicide?
Public interest groups and law firms are now seeking to protect the younger generations from the harm that social media can cause, with a specific focus on teen suicide prevention. Levy Konigsberg is currently investigating potential legal claims and lawsuits arising from teen suicides that were contributed to by major social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram, which are owned by Meta.
Parents have begun to file viable lawsuits against Meta after suspecting that their children felt induced, encouraged or enabled by these social media platforms to commit suicide. The real tipping point that brought these lawsuits to light was when a former Facebook product manager leaked company information that showed Meta knew or reasonably should have known that its Instagram app was damaging to its users’ mental health and body images. The effects of such emotional damage are assumedly much worse for young users who are still developing their identities and understandings of society and online society overall.
The information leak also showed that Meta’s social media algorithms are quite deliberate when deciding what content to show to which users, such as what shows up on the “For You Page.” By intentionally showing teenagers unsafe content—like content that promotes suicidal ideations, violent content, or sexually explicit content that makes them more vulnerable to online sex offenders—Meta should be at least partially liable for the outcomes that follow.
How Can Parents Learn More About A Teen Suicide Social Media Lawsuit?
Levy Konigsberg is here to help you explore your legal options if you lost your teenage child to suicide that you think was enabled or encouraged by social media. We know that you are likely traumatized from your loss and need time to grieve. Our law firm is renowned for providing high-quality legal counsel that is paired with genuine care and compassion. We can progress your case with professionalism and sensitivity, so you never feel rushed or out of place. Nothing can undo what has happened to your family but filing a teen suicide social media lawsuit can help by securing justice and a sense of closure, so you can continue to grieve healthily.
Whenever you are ready, please call our firm at (800) 315-3806. We are here to listen and help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
No matter how difficult things might get, please know that you are never alone—and that self-harm never helps. If you are experiencing thoughts of suicide or have hurt yourself, please call 800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which is available 24/7/365. This hotline gives you someone to talk to and can connect you with local mental health professionals.