Native American

Native American tribal youth sue social media heroes for teen suicide: Understanding impact and solutions

Native American tribal youth

Social media platforms are facing legal action from Native American tribes, who accuse them of contributing to alarming rates of suicide among Black teens. Two tribal nations, the Spirit Lake Tribe of North Dakota and the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin, have sued significant technology companies such as Meta Platforms, Snap Inc., ByteDance, and Alphabet over mental health issues among Native youth with materials exaggerated addiction to these platforms.

Poverty, historical trauma, and insufficient resources plague Native American adolescents. Cyberbullying, unattainable beauty standards, and toxic content on social media worsen their battle. Social media can provide connection and power but can also cause worry, depression, and suicide for many black youth.

Digital technology has outpaced regulatory frameworks and cultural sensitivity training, making Aboriginal people susceptible to technology businesses. Social media PR policies promote safety and well-being, but tactical strategies generally emphasize mental health communication. Addiction affects vulnerable youth, worsening their feelings of isolation and inadequacy.

Native American tribes want digital companies to be accountable and improve social media monitoring. By highlighting Aboriginal youth’s particular issues and advocating for culturally appropriate solutions, this group seeks to make the internet safer and more helpful for future generations.

The dangers of social media addiction

Social media misuse endangers Aboriginal youth’s mental health, worsening Native American issues. With high teen suicide rates and limited mental health services, Native American youth face a unique digital environment with social media’s addictive nature, practical design, depression, and anxiety, which increase the risk of mental illness like suicide.

Furthermore, the pervasiveness of cyberbullying and discrimination on social media is increasingly making Aboriginal youth feel isolated and marginalized. Social media can help Aboriginal people and young people connect with culture and community in this toxic online environment. Still, it also lowers their self-esteem and perpetuates a cycle of trauma and intergenerational trauma in their communities.

Thus, Native American tribes’ actions against big social media companies are a crucial first step in addressing social media abuse and its uneven impact on native adolescents and girls. Aboriginal communities want increased understanding, planning, and support for mental health resources and to hold technology firms accountable for amplifying mental health information. Technology and innovation improve mental health for future generations.


  • Exposure to culture and community
  • Access to information and resources
  • A platform for presentation and functionality


  • Cyberbullying and discrimination
  • Addiction and mental health issues
  • Using the art of tech companies

Addressing mental health challenges

The alarmingly high suicide rate among Native American youth underscores the need for urgent action. Limited access to mental health services and cultural stigma around mental health add to the challenges faced by Aboriginal youth. While social media can be a medium for empowerment and connection, it poses a significant risk to psychological well-being.

Native American communities often face systemic barriers that impede access to mental health resources. Remote locations, understaffed healthcare facilities, and cultural differences in healthcare practices all contribute to disparities in access to mental health care and to historical trauma from immigration, forced independence internalization, and displacement, further exacerbating the mental health challenges of Aboriginal youth.

The cultural stigma around mental health is also a significant barrier to helping. In many Native American communities, mental health issues are often viewed as a personal failing rather than a legitimate medical concern. This stigma can prevent individuals from getting the help and treatment they need, leading to poor mental health outcomes.

Additionally, the pervasive influence of social media exacerbates these challenges by perpetuating unrealistic beauty standards, encouraging comparison, and facilitating cyberbullying. Black youth are particularly vulnerable to these adverse effects as they navigate complex processes of identity and belonging in online and offline spaces.

Despite these challenges, there is hope for addressing the mental health gap among Aboriginal youth. Aboriginal elders, leaders, and mental health professionals are crucial to community-based interventions that provide culturally appropriate resources and support. Traditional healing methods, culturally aware therapies, and peer support communication may all be part of these interventions.

Additionally, advocacy efforts aimed at improving access to mental health services and reducing stigma are gaining momentum in Native American communities. Tribal leaders are working to create a supportive and inclusive environment for all youth through awareness, encouraging promotion, testing of stereotypes, and encouraging open discussions about mental health.

Solution: Cultural Training

Cultural competency training is proactive in tackling Aboriginal mental health issues. Still, proper and sustainable labor methods are essential. Tech firms may comprehend Native American youth mental health disparities’ historical and cultural causes by investing in education and awareness programs.

Cultural competence training requires acknowledging Aboriginal culture and experiences. Traditional, linguistic, and cultural norms impact each ethnic group’s perspective and interactions. Technology businesses can learn about cultural differences and adjust their platforms by engaging with tribal leaders and community members.

Cultural competence training can also help technology businesses overcome systematic bias and discrimination that may affect Aboriginal users. By promoting respect and inclusion, all users, regardless of culture, can feel comfortable and supported at these enterprises.

Technology businesses prioritize mental health collaborations to produce evidence-based interventions and services for Aboriginal kids and cultural competency training. By including culturally relevant material and programs, these companies can help people find mental health resources.

Tech businesses must communicate with Aboriginal communities to ensure their efforts meet community needs and objectives. This collaborative approach fosters trust, respect, and meaningful collaborations that can improve society.

Technology businesses can help Aboriginal adolescents with mental health by prioritizing culturally competent training and community engagement. We will develop an inclusive and egalitarian digital ecosystem that supports all users’ well-being, regardless of culture or identity.

The science behind social media addiction

Social media platforms are designed to attract and hold users’ attention through various design features, such as endless scrolling, personalized reporting, and using likes and comments as social verification metrics.

Neuroscientists have noticed that interactions on social media trigger the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward. When users receive likes or positive comments on their posts, their brains interpret these interactions as rewards, reinforcing the behavior and encouraging them to seek greater engagement. This action seeks ongoing rewards. This cycle can lead to compulsive use of social media, as can personal interaction online, which is highly dependent on the positive reinforcement provided

Additionally, the fear of missing out (FOMO) phenomenon gives teenagers access to social media again. Constant exposure to edited images of other people’s lives leads to feelings of inadequacy and anxiety, forcing individuals to constantly monitor their social media to stay connected and avoid feeling left out. This fear of missing important information or social connections perpetuates the cycle of forced testing and contributes to increased stress and decreased well-being.

Social comparison is crucial to social media addiction. Online comparisons and feelings of inferiority or inadequacy common among teens. If not in a cycle, constant comparison causes self-doubt and insecurity, leading people to use social media for validation and reassurance.

Recognizing that not all online interactions are harmful is important because social media addiction can harm mental health. Social media can help build communities, networks, and exposure. To reduce addiction and promote mental health, digital and real-world interactions must be balanced.

We can promote positive digital habits and support young users’ well-being by understanding social media addiction’s mechanisms, adolescents’ psychological vulnerabilities, and the controlling mechanisms that cause compulsive behaviors and their negative consequences.

Law enforcement:

Despite bilateral efforts to regulate social media programs, implementing effective oversight remains challenging. Historically, the technology has resisted government intervention, raising concerns about censorship and encroachments on free speech. While policymakers aim to protect children and adolescents from harmful online content, figuring out the balance between the law and innovation is a contentious issue.

A key challenge in law enforcement is the rapid pace of technological advances. Social media platforms constantly introduce new features and algorithms, making compliance harder. Moreover, the global nature of these conventions complicates legislation, as legislation enshrined in one jurisdiction is only sometimes applicable.

Another barrier to effective regulation is more consensus on what constitutes harmful information. Some advocate tighter crackdowns on hate speech, disinformation, and cyberbullying. In contrast, others argue that such laws could infringe on individuals’ right to free speech to balance the need for security on the Internet with the principles of free speech, which poses a serious ethical dilemma for policymakers.

Additionally, legislative efforts must consider the needs and perspectives of different communities, including Aboriginal people. Native American tribes face unique challenges in accessing mental health resources and dealing with the adverse effects of social media abuse. Any legislative framework must take into account the cultural nuances and historical trauma experienced by Aboriginal communities.

Despite these challenges, there are opportunities for stakeholders to collaborate to address the issue. By fostering dialogue and collaboration among technology companies, policymakers, mental health professionals, and community leaders to work together to develop evidence-based strategies to promote positive online experiences and prevent harm, we can be closer to achieving a safe and inclusive digital environment for all users.

Hope for the future:

In creating a safe online environment, it’s essential to realize that multiple approaches may be needed. Different communities have unique cultural values, norms, and challenges that affect their relationship with technology. Any solution must, therefore, be tailored to meet the specific needs of Aboriginal youth while recognizing their cultural identity.

One promising avenue for improvement is integrating culturally relevant mental health resources into social media programs. By partnering with tribal leaders and mental health professionals, technology companies can create tools and support networks that reach Native American youth. These resources may include culturally sensitive counseling services, peer support groups, and educational materials that promote resilience and well-being.

Digital literacy and critical thinking are becoming increasingly crucial to navigating the online world. By empowering young people with the knowledge and tools to evaluate and manage their online experiences, we can reduce the negative impact of social media by promoting good digital citizenship.

Beyond the grassroots industry, regulatory action will play an essential role in shaping the future of social media. Policymakers must create rules that hold technology companies accountable for their impact on mental health and ensure that algorithmic design, content, and practices are transparent.

Technological innovation, community participation, and policy reform are needed to protect Aboriginal youth online. Collaboration across departments and disciplines can make social media a force for positive social change rather than disruption.

The Native American tribes’ case against social media giants highlights how digital technology affects mental health, especially among disadvantaged communities. To effectively combat social media addiction and its disproportionate impact on Indigenous adolescents, a multi-pronged approach is needed.

Systemic mental health barriers and cultural stigma make social media overuse dangerous, emphasizing the need for action. Aboriginal communities demand digital corporations to be more accountable and seek culturally sensitive solutions to support their kids.

While regulatory measures and ground-level activities are important, stakeholder participation is crucial. Tech businesses, legislators, mental health experts, and community leaders can collaborate to establish evidence-based Aboriginal youth mental health and cultural identity programs.

Invest in digital literacy and critical thinking to help kids surf the internet safely. By teaching people how to evaluate and manage their online experiences, we can reduce social media addiction and promote good digital citizenship.

As we look ahead, there is no single solution to social media addiction’s complicated issues. Instead, it demands deep cultural understanding, concerted efforts, and a commitment to young consumer well-being.

In conclusion, Aboriginal communities need technical innovation, regulatory change, and community-driven initiatives to combat social media addiction. Together, we can build a secure and supportive online environment for black adolescents to develop and reach their potential.


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Pratham Mittal hails from the city of Vadodara, Gujarat. He is incredibly positive and passionate about his life. He's obsessed with his ambitions and dreams. A kind, friendly, and happy soul loves to see smiles around. He enjoys reading books, dramas, and short tales and is an avid reader. His favourite genre is literature. He's primarily motivated by self-belief. His heart beats with the desire for success, love, passion, and trust. He has won numerous awards, co-authored over 100 national and international anthologies, and compiled over 25 anthologies.  He's the author of "Crystal of Thoughts.". He's also part of many writing communities in India and abroad.He has 12 national, world records to his name. He has also won over 15 honours for his work. He was featured and interviewed in a national and international journal and newspaper.​