Canadian schools pile on with Big Tech lawsuits

More Canadian schools are blaming social media platforms for pushing educators and already-thin resources to the brim. 

What happened: Five Ontario school boards and two private schools are suing the parent companies of Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok for $2.6 billion, alleging their platforms are intentionally addictive and harming students’ mental health and learning capacity.

  • Four of Canada’s biggest school boards filed similar lawsuits in March, seeking $4.5 billion, while cases from about 500 school boards are currently playing out in the U.S.

Why it matters: The lawsuits are part of a broader crackdown on young people’s excessive scrolling. Ontario just issued a strict cellphone ban in schools, B.C. is rolling out similar restrictions in the fall, and Québec is now weighing a social media ban for kids under 16. 

  • In the U.S., Florida passed legislation banning anyone under 14 from having a social media account, a law that’s seen as one of the most restrictive bans ever issued. 

Big picture: With 91% of Canadian students in Grades 7 to 12 checking in on social media daily, and about a third spending five or more hours on it every day, behavioural problems and a general inability to focus are popping up in and out of the classroom.—LA