SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Last month, the Jamesville-Dewitt Central School District voted to sue social media platforms such as Meta, TikTok and Google. This bold decision demonstrates a growing concern about the negative impact of these platforms on students, echoing Superintendent Dr. Peter Smith’s belief that these social networks have been causing problems for too long.
“Our principals are constantly dealing with issues that arise from social media, where kids engage in inappropriate interactions, subsequently bringing these problems into the school environment. This creates distractions in the learning process, and these are the regular, everyday occurrences,” said Smith.
The decision to take legal actions aligns with recent legislative momentum, specifically Governor Kathy Hochul’s endorsement of two bills that aim to limit social media platforms’ data collection from minors without parental consent. The legislative efforts and lawsuit both aim to address the harmful effects of social media on children.
“For me, it’s about holding some accountability for the content on these social media platforms and acknowledging the profound impact they have on the lives of our young people,” said Smith, underscoring the district’s stance.
The district’s biggest concern is that students should stop using addictive social media platforms and focus on personal development instead.
“Attention is the commodity these social media companies seek, and it’s the commodity our children possess. However, that commodity could be better utilized by concentrating on their studies, athletic prowess, and artistic talents,” said Joe Gross, president of the Jamesville-Dewitt Board of Education. “Our district sees what we can see, but it’s a common theme that runs through many schools throughout the country, and so I think we’re all stronger together by recognizing these common themes and acting together.”
Gross also highlighted the concerning trends in mental health and their impact on student attendance and behavior.
“We have seen significant changes in mental health definitely over the last couple of years, but even before COVID, and the effects on student attendance and student behavior,” said Gross.
The school district’s decision highlights the ongoing discussion about social media’s effect on young people. It emphasizes the importance of responsibility and reevaluating how these platforms influence education.