Detroit mother sues Instagram for negatively affecting her 13-year-old child

Posted at 6:04 AM, Sep 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 06:56:08-04

(WXYZ) — A 2018 Pew Research Study found that 45% of teenagers are online almost constantly. 97% use a social media platform.

A Johns Hopkins University study from 2019 shows that 12 to 15-year-olds in the U.S. who spend more than three hours a day on social media are likely to have a heightened risk for mental health problems.

Now, a Detroit mother of a 13-year-old is suing Instagram and its parent company Meta claiming it had horrible effects on her daughter.

The plaintiff, known as L.H., had been on Instagram since the age of 11 and was a "heavy user" according to a 123-page federal complaint.

It goes on to say any interest outside of Instagram for L.H. was "progressively declined."

The complaint also alleges that "L.H. developed injuries including, but not limited to, anxiety, attempted suicide, attempted self-harm, self-harm, and body dysmorphia."

The complaint adds that "neither A.H. nor L.H. were aware of the clinically addictive and mentally harmful effects of Instagram when L.H. began to use the product."

Dr. Asha Shajahan, the medical director of Community Health at Beaumont Grosse Pointe says the overuse of social media can hurt the ability to concentrate with all of the stimulation. Especially since children's brains are still developing until the late 20s.

"When you're talking about kids the biggest issue is the prefrontal cortex which is the impulsive control part of the brain," Dr. Asha Shajahan said. "It's not fully developed until the late 20s so, when you're younger and going through all of these social media type of interactions, likes and dislikes and postings, your impulse center is not quite developed and so just like an addiction to drugs, kids have a higher propensity to get addicted to social media."

The other argument made in this complaint is that these "designs take advantage of users' dopamine-driven desire for social validation."

7 Actions News out to Meta, Instagram's parent company for comment and have yet to hear back.