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Numerous U.S. states are suing Instagram, or more specifically, Meta Platforms Incorporated

41 U.S. states are suing Instagram, or more specifically, Meta Platforms Incorporated. 

Meta is being blamed for knowingly utilizing features that addict children to their platforms, namely Instagram and Facebook.

They are also taking information from minors, usually those under thirteen years of age, without the consent of their parents. 

Even six and seven-year-olds can be seen staring at their screens, mindlessly scrolling through social media, demonstrating that Meta is using the addicting features to their advantage.

Other than taking information, how does Instagram affect children? The platform harms the mental and physical health of children.

A study showed that 13.5% of teenage girls said that Instagram makes suicidal thoughts worse, and 17% of teenage girls said Instagram makes eating disorders worse. Instagram promotes eating disorders by flooding brains with images of “perfect” bodies, giving out unrealistic body standards. 

Beyond bodily insecurities, Instagram has a talent for lowering people’s self-esteem. Meta has already received frustrated complaints from users about stealing information and hurting people’s egos, so suing them feels like a last resort. 

Not only is Meta using these features, they are profiting from it. They are earning money from children’s naivety. 

Instagram has about two billion monthly users. Because of this, Meta can make a lot of money from these users.

Instagram requires users to be ages thirteen and up, but 11% of guardians in the United States say that their children who are from nine to eleven years old, use Instagram. The only reason this happens is because the only verification of age is the birth year the account creator puts in when they make their account. 

Instagram shouldn’t be at fault because people are making the choice to dupe* the website, bringing negative impacts on themselves.

Speaking of choices, the impact of Instagram is dependent on who people choose to follow. Instagram should not be held fully accountable if people are making the conscious choice to view a person’s posts.

Current seventh grader, Vivienne Limberis, says “You can only see stuff from the people you follow.” When you follow people, you follow their content, whether it be a friend’s spam or an influencer’s fitness tips. 

If you are following people who are not inappropriate or dangerous, Instagram should not be at fault for negative mental health.

Children can easily get addicted and scammed by Instagram with a few button clicks. 

Instagram is being sued for causing harm to their viewers and for using that to their advantage. Instagram should be sued, but maybe not to the extent it is right now. 

Lima, Cristiano, and Naomi Nix. 2023. “41 states sue Meta, claiming Instagram, Facebook are addictive, harm kids.” The Washington Post.
Singer, Natasha. 2023. “Meta Sued Over Features That Hook Children to Instagram, Facebook.” The New York Times.
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