SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — Social media giants are the target of a local lawsuit.
The goal is to better regulate popular sites like Snapchat and TikTok, protecting children's and teenagers' mental health.
The lawsuit aims to protect 200,000 students just in San Diego County alone. Four local school districts and 12 others nationwide are hopeful for change.
Oceanside, and Coronado are now plaintiffs in a lawsuit just filed against all the major players. It alleges Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snap, and Youtube have caused a mental health crisis among youth.
"A 15-year-old was cyberbullied online. She couldn't take it, and she hung herself at the school," James Frantz said.
The deeply concerned Frantz Law Group is taking on the tech giants -- and says these companies target kids and are knowingly harmful, manipulative, and addictive.
"It will be controlling their behavior, how they run their company and algorithms, and proving they're not intentionally deceptive. Right now, there's no one to control that," he said.
Frantz says they're eager to get their experts in the courtroom to talk about depression and addiction.
"Brain scans show an area lighting up when exposed to this. Similar to gambling."
The lawsuit isn't trying to eliminate social media but rather make them more responsible. A win for this team would mean transparency surrounding algorithms, money for educational materials that warn students about the possible dangers, and resources to address student mental health.
"If I can hold out til she's a late teen, I'll do that," one mom said.
Her 12-year-old daughter does have a phone but no access to social media.
"I see it as a way to communicate with people, but it can also be dangerous," the girl said.
It's a very fine and respectful line -- a difficult choice for many parents.
"I want them to be present for their actual life that happens, not on the internet," the mom added.
CBS 8 was told this lawsuit would only enhance what's happening in the State Senate. Bill 287 moved further this week, requiring companies to prove they're not causing social media addiction in those under 18.
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