A Sobering Social Media Reality Check

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Human beings are, by far, the smartest species to ever walk the earth, and yet it hasn’t kept them from making a mistake every now and then. This dynamic has popped up on the surface quite a few times throughout our history, with each appearance practically forcing us to look for a defensive cover. We will, however, solve our conundrum in the most fitting way possible once we bring dedicated regulatory bodies into the fold. Having a well-defined authority across and every area was a game-changer, as it instantly gave us a safety cushion against our many shortcomings. Such a development, as anyone would expect, went on to produce some serious utopia in its wake, but because of technology, it was all pretty short-lived. You see, the moment and technology’s layered nature took over the landscape, it allowed people a chance to exploit others in gazillion different ways, while also shielding them from potential consequences. As if the situation wasn’t bad enough, the whole runner soon started to materialize on a scale so massive that it overwhelmed our governing forces, and consequentially, sent them back to square one. After a lengthy spell in the wilderness, though, the regulatory contingent finally looks ready to make a comeback. If anything, this has only turned more and more evident over the recent past, and going by a recent lawsuit, it should hope for even better prospects moving forward.

The Social Media Victims Law Center has formally filed a lawsuit against Roblox and Discord on the behalf of a 13-year old, who was allegedly harassed with the help of the stated platforms. According to certain reports, the teenage girl identified as S.U. was contacted on Roblox by an 18-year old user, who manipulated her into connecting with him on various other platforms like Discord, Snapchat, and Instagram etc. There, the pair’s constant communication is understood to have lead to a “harmful and problematic dependence” on electronic devices that damaged the girl’s mental health. Furthermore, going by the findings, the boy in question even got her to start drinking, send explicit photos, and engage in other harmful behavior. All this would crescendo in 2020 when S.U. tried to commit suicide on one occasion.

“But for Roblox’s marketing to children, representations of safety, and failure to warn of harms known to Roblox and arising from its direct message products and capabilities … S.U. would not have been exposed to defendant Roblox’s inherently dangerous and defective features,” the complaint states. “But for Discord’s defective and/or inherently misleading safety features and, independently, its failure to conduct reasonable verification of age, identity, and parental consent, S.U. would not have been exposed to defendant Discord’s inherently dangerous and defective features.”

Apart from Roblox and Discord, the lawsuit also targets companies like Meta and Snap, something we have seen quite a lot in last one year or so. To give you concrete numbers, this growing belief that social media companies are causing anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and sleeplessness in adolescents and young adults has produced more than 80 lawsuits against such platforms in 2022 alone.

 

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