The parents of a New York teenager have sued Meta, alleging that their daughter acquired an Instagram addiction that led to an eating problem and other mental health issues. As per the lawsuit, Alexis began using Instagram when she was two years younger than the platform’s minimum age of 13. According to a court filing in the US District Court for the Northern District of California, she did not notify her parents, Kathleen and Jeff Spence. She acquired ‘addiction, anxiety, sadness, self-harm, eating disorders, and, eventually, suicide thoughts’ very quickly.
Her parents allege they were ’emotionally and financially injured by Meta’s addictive design and ongoing and detrimental distribution and/or availability of several Instagram accounts to their underage kid. The fact that Alexis is here is absolutely a miracle,’ Kathleen Spence told ABC News. ‘We battled tooth and nail for her. We tried all in our power to help her. We provided her the care she needed on numerous levels, and we were concerned about her safety at times.’
‘What else am I to do when I’m 11 years old but keep looking at this content? And what am I to think when I’m constantly reminded, ‘This is how [to] be lovely… this is what you’re meant to look like,’ every day? When I was a kid,’ Spence said. Frances Haugen, a former product manager at the software firm, also said that Meta violates regulations in order to make money.
Kathleen says ‘We had no idea what was going on when Alexis started using Instagram without our permission or knowledge at the age of 11. We just knew our daughter had vanished. We were gradually losing our confident, loving child, who was becoming unhappy, resentful, and distant’. According to the stolen documents from Haugen, executives were aware that their platforms may feed hate speech and harm young people’s mental health.