Seton Hall Law event to address lawsuits around addictive social media, gaming sites

The makers of social networks and online games are starting to be sued for creating a product that is addictive (and harmful) to kids.

Do the suits have merit?

That’s one of the questions that will be answered when the Institute for Privacy Protection at the Gibbons Institute for Law Science & Technology at Seton Hall University School of Law hosts “Legal Responses to Addictive Technologies: Addressing the Impact of Screens, Social Networks and Online Games on Kids.”

Matt Platkin.

The event, to be held April 12, will feature New Jersey Attorney General Matt Platkin and Serena Viswanathan, an associate director for advertising practices at the Federal Trade Commission.

Speakers also will include legal academics, attorneys, regulators, activists, educators and mental health specialists.

This conference will explore the impact on kids and the potential and challenges of legal action to contain addictive technologies. It will also evaluate policy changes regarding the use of technology in schools.

Recently, states’ attorneys general, school districts and parents filed lawsuits against social networks. Congress and many states enacted or proposed laws to protect kids from addiction and other online harms. The tech industry is challenging these laws in courts across the country. The FTC proposed new rules to protect kids online, while engaging in antitrust action against Big Tech. And a growing movement is advocating to ban cell phones in schools.

Serena Viswanathan.

Professor Gaia Bernstein, co-director of the Institute for Privacy Protection at the Gibbons Institute for Law Science & Technology, said the event is coming at an opportune moment.

“We have a generation of kids who have been in front of screens for over a decade,” she said. “Research reveals that we are facing a public health crisis for children.

“We now know that the technology industry is designing its technologies to addict. In the last year, we have seen significant legal action, especially involving social media. But, to solve this problem, we need to have a conversation between regulators, lawyers, educators, activists, health professionals and parents. We are very excited to provide the forum for this important discussion.”

The conference will be held at Seton Hall Law School (at One Newark Center in Newark) from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information and to register, click here.