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SOLOMON: Will Courts Hold Facebook Liable for Kids’ Anorexia?

In July, two families in Kentucky filed lawsuits against Instagram (whose parent company is Meta, which all of us still think of as Facebook), seeking to hold the company responsible for their daughters’ eating disorders and mental illnesses. This is the tip of a massive iceberg, as in more than 80 current lawsuits, parents are claiming that Facebook and other social media platforms are causing their children irreparable harm.

As these cases continue to pile up, they come as no surprise to those who have closely followed the legal woes of these social media companies. Over the past few years, Facebook has faced a barrage of lawsuits alleging that it failed to protect minors from sexual predators and cyberbullies.

The current lawsuits follow in the steps of an earlier round, filed in 2016 by a coalition of consumer groups and public interest organizations who alleged that Facebook’s policies violated the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). These suits, which were consolidated into one federal case currently pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, all sought class-action status for millions of minors whom they allege suffered emotional distress as a result of their interactions with other children on Facebook or Instagram

In 2017, Facebook was sued in Illinois by the parents of a 14-year-old girl who allegedly died by suicide after being cyber-bullied on the social media platform. The suit, which also named Instagram and the alleged bullies as defendants, claimed that Facebook failed to implement safeguards to protect children from online violence. In seeking $100 million in damages for their daughter’s death, the parents argue that if Facebook had done more to prevent bullying on its platforms and remove offensive content when reported by users or other third parties (such as school authorities), then perhaps their daughter would still be alive today.

In 2018, two other suits were filed in California alleging that Facebook knowingly allowed minors to access its platforms and failed to protect them. One of those cases involved a 13-year-old girl who says she was bullied through Instagram and then sexually assaulted by an adult male. She says that after she reported the incident, Instagram failed to remove the photos posted by her assaulter. In California, minors can sue in civil court without their parents’ permission if they have suffered harm as a result of another’s negligence or carelessness, but only if they’re seeking damages for personal injury. The girls’ lawyers argue that their clients’ suffering qualifies as such an injury because it caused “severe emotional distress.”

Whether Facebook is held liable for a case of anorexia is less important than the collective opening of a very powerful door for families who are filing these lawsuits.

Kila Baldwin, a Philadelphia-based catastrophic injury lawyer who is very familiar with these types of cases, shared a poignant observation with me:

“The collective weight of these ongoing suits bears heavily on the backs of social media companies, which need to individually and collectively appreciate that their platforms, which they often argue were designed to change lives for the better, can also destroy them.”

One thing is eminently clear: These claims aren’t going away anytime soon, nor are other potential legal challenges involving kids’ use of social media platforms. These social media companies have no viable option moving forward than to hold themselves to a higher standard.

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PA Teens Are Falling for Online Scams

A new study from, using this year’s data from the FTC and FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center IC3, found tech-savvy teenagers are falling for online scams at a higher rate than senior citizens.

The money lost by victims aged 20 and younger grew by 1,125 percent over the past five years compared to 390 percent for seniors. Teenagers lost just $8.2 million in 2017 compared to $101.4 million last year.

“I have seen people my age on Instagram get their accounts hacked by various malicious links,” Jimmy Marturano, a Conestoga High School senior, said. “However, I know fewer teenagers that have been scammed specifically on the internet.”

Seniors remain the most victimized group overall, losing $1.68 billion last year. But the increase of teen victims is concerning and shows the growing skills of the scammers.

In 2021, Pennsylvania’s 17,262 victims lost $206 million, making this the fifth most-scammed state.

On a national level, a record $6.9 billion was lost to online scams in 2021, nearly double from $3.5 billion in 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

According to SocialCatfish, five common scams are targeting teenagers this year, including “Diet Pills” on Tik Tok. Scammers target teen girls, a susceptible group to eating disorders, using fake celebrity endorsements.

Multilevel marketing schemes then enlist girls to sell the pills they must buy upfront. The girls will never see any money and are potentially putting their health at risk. The problem has escalated and states like New York and California are trying to ban the sale of non-prescription diet pills to teenagers.

To avoid this scam, SocialCatfish advises speaking with a doctor before taking any diet pills and researching any company or person enlisting you online to sell products.

The second most common scam targeting teens is “Sextortion,” which has gotten the FBI’s attention. Scammers are posing as attractive females on social media and targeting teenage boys. They are sending nude photos and asking for the same in return. Once the scammer has the explicit image, they blackmail the victim and threaten to publish the picture online and send it to their friends and family.

To avoid “Sextortion,” perform a reverse photo search to confirm if the person sending photos to you online is who they say they are and to avoid sending explicit photos digitally to anyone.

The third most common scam targeting teens is “Student Loan Forgiveness” since the government announced up to $20,000 in student loans can be forgiven. It is common for older teens desperate for financial help. The scammers create fake applications and websites with fake Department of Education logos. They offer forgiveness faster and ask for upfront fees and demand that the person apply immediately.

To avoid this scam, don’t give personal information to anyone online and only seek forgiveness from the Department of Education’s financial site via

The fourth and fifth most common scams targeting teens are “Online Gaming” and “Talent Scouts.” In Online Gaming, scammers pose as fake vendors and send suspicious links during the in-game chats to make money. Talent scouts are scammers who direct message teenagers on social media, offering acting and modeling opportunities.

To avoid these scenarios, never respond or click on links sent in a direct message and always research the company.

To report  a scam or attempted scam report it to the FTC, IC3FBI , and 


DelVal Businesses Eager to Hire Summer Workers

After suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic, some local Delaware Valley businesses plan to pick up workers for summer jobs this season. The question is whether the workers will show up for those jobs.

Sesame Place in Bucks County is a family attraction enjoyed by many Delaware Valley residents with young children. Managers are optimistic about their business going into the summer.

“Sesame Place is currently hiring for the summer season,” Meagan Passero, the site’s communications manager, said. “While we have seen challenges with staffing since the pandemic, we feel comfortable with where we are currently in our hiring process.” 

Sesame Place and other local businesses could expand their workforce by hiring youth, The Wall Street Journal reported, as teenagers are looking to jump into the job market, anticipating higher pay and better hours.

Many teenagers don’t have the same view of summer work as their parents’ generation. Extracurricular activities, unpaid internships, and volunteer opportunities have replaced work in the lives of some young people.

But there is some good news for would-be employers this season.

According to government statistics, teenagers are now working in more significant numbers than before the 2008-09 financial crisis. These teenage workers have become valuable in the retail, hospitality, and tourism industries, where many adults left these jobs behind during the pandemic.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports the unemployment rate among 16- to 19-year-old workers was 10.2 percent in April, just short of the 68-year low of 9.6 percent in May last year. The federal data show about a third of U.S. teenagers in that age group are now in the workforce.

If these trends continue, many businesses throughout the Delaware Valley should be in good shape for this upcoming season.

In Delaware County, PA CareerLink Delaware County, in partnership with Delaware County Workforce Development, hosted two job fairs recently hoping to match job seekers and employers.

Both job fairs focused on post-graduation and summer opportunities while featuring more than 30 businesses from the Delaware County area. They aspired to fill hundreds of part-time, full-time, and seasonal positions.

Representatives from educational institutions, the hospitality industry, restaurants, retirement communities, summer camps, and trade unions attended. Various positions at both fairs offered competitive employee benefits as well as opportunities for advancement and gaining experience in the workforce.

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