Media Tip Sheet: Seattle Public Schools Sue Tech Giants over Social Media Harm

January 17, 2023

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Seattle Public Schools is suing the tech giants behind TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, SnapChat, and YouTube, calling it “the first step towards holding social media companies accountable for the harm caused to students’ social, emotional, and mental health,” according to the district.

GW faculty experts are available to offer insight, commentary, and analysis on the business ethics of social media companies, social media addiction, and the impact of social media on students’ mental health. To schedule an interview with an expert, please contact GW Media Relations at [email protected].


GW's Vikram R. Bhargava

Vikram R. Bhargava is an assistant professor of strategic management and public policy at the GW School of Business. His research centers around topics including technology addiction, mass social media outrage, artificial intelligence, the future of work, and other topics related to digital technology policy. Bhargava can speak to social media addiction, why exactly social media is an addictive product unlike any other, and the policy and practice suggestions that are often overlooked.

Bhargava authored a research article in Business Ethics Quarterly, titled  "Ethics of the Attention Economy: The Problem of Social Media Addiction", which dives into why scholars, policy makers, and the managers of social media companies should treat social media addiction as a serious moral problem. He argues that “addicting users to social media is impermissible because it unjustifiably harms users in a way that is both demeaning and objectionably exploitative. Importantly, the attention-economy business model of social media companies strongly incentivizes them to perpetrate this wrongdoing.”

GW's Mary DeRaedt

Dr. Mary DeRaedt is an assistant professor or counseling and human development at GW’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. DeRaedt is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in Virginia and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC) with a Doctorate in Counseling and Supervision. She provides psychotherapy for people of all ages at the Gil Institute for Trauma Recovery and Education. Her doctoral work was completed at the George Washington University where she focused on effective treatments for children and adolescents coping with trauma, anxiety, non-suicidal self-injury, depression, behavior disorders and disordered eating.

Dr. DeRaedt is also dedicated to training and supervising the next generation of professional counselors to be trauma-informed and developmentally focused. Her current research is focused on the effective use of play and expressive arts in doctoral supervision training. She teaches courses in play therapy, trauma and crisis intervention, child and adolescent development, family therapy, internship in clinical supervision and human sexuality. She is a supervisor to clinicians across Virginia and Washington D.C. Dr. DeRaedt has published articles addressing adult issues.