Advocates urge Zuckerberg not to launch a separate Instagram for kids
On Thursday, an advocacy group called on Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, not to create another version of Instagram for kids as it would put them at a “great risk”. They indicated that they have a big concern about their privacy, safety, mental health, screen time, self-esteem, and commercial pressure put on children. In the letter, they suggested that peer pressure and desire for approval will encourage kids to use their phones more often and share photos with their followers. Advocates led by a Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Boston-based nonprofit, claimed that as these children are not mature enough, they will not be able to establish fully safe and healthy social interactions. However, the Instagram spokeswoman, Stephanie Otway, said that they will consult experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates. As she claimed, the kids are online and they want to connect with their family and friends, appropriately and safely. Moreover, this Instagram will be add-free and it will also have a feature of parental controls. However, experts said that a lot of kids lied about their ages on the current version of Instagram and they will not switch back to the “younger” version. Psychologist Jean Twenge, author of “iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy — and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood,” claimed that Instagram is very destructive for kids. For now, Instagram is the most toxic social media as it puts the biggest emphasis on the pictures and, hence, the appearance that people post in their profiles. Twenge suggested that Facebook should focus on safer social media for kids. It remains a big question of how to create a safe and at the same time interesting network for kids, protecting them from the danger that is posed by social media use. While big companies such as Facebook are developing apps and channels that would make children less vulnerable in terms of social media consumption, the lack of control and understanding of how to make these channels interesting to use.