SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Two San Diego County school districts have joined a lawsuit against social media companies.
The Frantz Law Group filed the lawsuit on behalf of 16 school districts, including Coronado Unified School District and Oceanside Unified School District.
It blames platforms like Facebook and TikTok for fueling a mental health crisis among students.
"Students are exhibiting symptoms of mental and emotional breakdowns at school," attorney James Frantz said. "There's damage to the properties at the schools. Kids are getting mean."
Frantz said social media companies expose children to often harmful and exploitative content that encourages misbehavior, cyberbullying, and depression.
"Suicide has gone up dramatically," he said.
Dr. Willough Jenkins is a child psychiatrist at Rady Children's Hospital.
She said she usually sees the harmful impacts of social media with excessive use.
"I can absolutely understand why schools are concerned about social media use," Dr. Jenkins said.
Dr. Jenkins also said each child can be affected differently.
"If your child is interested in positive content, social media will amplify that, but the unfortunate piece is that if your child is already struggling with depression, anxiety, self-image issues, body images, social media with also amplify that," Dr. Jenkins said.
In a statement to ABC 10News, Coronado Unified Superintendent Karl Mueller said social media use can adversely affect students' academic and social development.
"This lawsuit reflects our commitment in Coronado Unified to advocate for the physical and emotional safety of our students, and to pursue any potential resources necessary to support them," Mueller said.
The lawsuit seeks to provide funding and resources needed for school districts to educate students about social media and mitigate its negative impacts.
It also wants companies to better regulate social media use among youth.
The Oceanside Unified School District said it cannot comment on pending litigation.