Who was Carson Bride? Kristin Bride, mother of cyberbullied Oregon teen, 16, who killed himself sues Snapchat
'Clearly, no one was policing YOLO when my son received hundreds of abusive messages during the first 3 weeks of June,' said Kristin Bride
PORTLAND, OREGON: The mother of an Oregon teenager who died by suicide after being bullied on Snapchat is now suing the app. The woman alleged that Snapchat and additional apps YOLO and LMK violated consumer protection law by not living up to their terms of service and that they facilitate bullying.
In June 2020, 16-year-old Carson Bride killed himself after receiving anonymous messages on Snapchat’s YOLO app for months. The harassing messages included taunts and sexual comments, and the teenager couldn’t respond to such comments, as he was scared that it will go public. Los Angeles Times reported, "The messages had to be coming from people he knew, but the app’s design made it impossible for him to know who was behind it. If he replied to the taunts, Yolo would automatically make the original message public, revealing his humiliation to the world." On June 23, 2020, when his dead body was found and his phone got confiscated. His search history showed that he had looked up 'Reveal YOLO Username Online' that same day.
Now, Carson's mother Kristin Bride has filed the suit on Monday, May 10, alongside co-plaintiff, Tyler Clementi Foundation, an NGO, that was formed after an 18-year-old took his own life in 2010 following cyberbullying. The Bride family is seeking financial damages in excess of $5 million and the immediate discontinuation of YOLO and LMK.
"Clearly, no one was policing YOLO when my son received hundreds of abusive messages during the first 3 weeks of June. These offenders may very well be continuing their bullying practices, especially now that they know the power of their words," Kristin wrote shortly after her son's death, according to the filing.
“The high school students who anonymously cyberbullied Carson will live with this tragedy for the rest of their lives,” Kristin said in a statement from the Eisenberg & Baum firm. “However, it is the executives at Snapchat, YOLO, and LMK irresponsibly putting profits over the mental health of young people who ultimately need to be held accountable," she said. She also added: "If you create an app which provides a platform for the anonymous bullying of vulnerable teens, the very least you can do is take accountability and assist the parents of your app's victims so that more YOLO deaths do not occur."
The suit also cites research linking anonymous harassment and teen suicide to bolster this argument, including a 2007 case study that discovered that students who experience bullying, online or in real life, are nearly twice as likely to attempt suicide. A subsequent study in 2014 found that cyberbullying maybe even more dangerous, with online bullying tripling the risk for suicidal ideation.
None of the apps have responded or made any comment regarding the case yet. But Snapchat hasn't removed either YOLO or LMK from its platform, despite having “reason to know through numerous reports that YOLO and LMK lack adequate safeguards to prevent teen users from being victimized by harassment, sexually explicit materials, and other harm,” the lawsuit states.