Tech&Innovation

Instagram for kids by Facebook under heavy fire

What is Instagram for Kids?

Instagram for Kids is Facebook’s latest project in development. Instagram allows users to share photos through posts and stories. Facebook acquired the platform in 2012, and integrated many features across their platforms. Currently Facebook has several plans for the upcoming app, saying that it will not include ads, it is designed for users 13 and under, and it will use artificial intelligence in order to determine users under 13 on the existing app. 

Concerns and Actions Against Instagram for Kids

There are many concerned parents and child advocates who say a platform specifically designed for kids will undergo a great influence from the app and have many potentially harmful ideas implanted. One example that the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood and ParentsTogether Action brought up in a letter to Mark Zuckerberg is, “Children and teens (especially young girls) have learned to associate overly sexualized, highly edited photos of themselves with more attention on the platform and popularity among their peers.” Additionally, the campaign states, “Instagram’s focus on photo sharing and appearance makes the platform particularly unsuitable for children who are in the midst of crucial stages of developing their sense of self.” These points are both valid in a digital age where many teenagers are trapped in their phones. 

There are also multiple legal actions taking place in court against the plan. 44 State Attorneys general urged Facebook to abandon these plans, referencing multiple studies that showed negative health effects from social media to kids. The AGs also stated that young kids “are not equipped to handle the range of challenges that come with having an Instagram account” such as privacy, the permanence of everything on the internet, and the fine line between private and public content. They also have doubts about Facebook’s children-aimed products and their history of failing to protect their users’ data and privacy correctly. 

Sources:

https://www.vox.com/recode/22385570/instagram-for-kids-youtube-facebook-messenger

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/05/10/attorneys-general-ask-facebook-to-abandon-instagram-for-kids-plans.html#:~:text=News%20%7C%20Getty%20Images-,Attorneys%20general%20from%2044%20states%20and%20territories%20urged%20Facebook%20to,protecting%20children%20on%20its%20platform.

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