A group of child safety advocates from around the globe are opposing Facebook’s plans to launch a version of Instagram for children. Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg received a letter from the Campaign signed by 99 groups and individuals, urging the social media giant to cancel its plans to launch a version of Instagram for kids.
The letter highlights Instagram as “image-obsessed” and further states that the social media platform is dangerous for children’s mental health and privacy. “Instagram, in particular, exploits young people’s fear of missing out and desire for peer approval to encourage children and teens to constantly check their devices and share photos of their followers,” the letter stated. Facebook received the letter at a time when it has been criticised for adding to misinformation globally across its platforms.
Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), which is a nonprofit organisation based in Boston, coordinated with 35 other organisations and 64 individual experts to send the letter. The letter also spoke about younger children not being equipped to handle the pressures that arise as a result of being active on social media platforms.
As per current Instagram policies, children under the age of 13 cannot create an account for themselves. In contrast, Instagram for kids would only allow children under the age of 13 to use Instagram.
In a conversation with NBC, Instagram spokesperson Stephanie Otway spoke about kids connecting with their families and peers on social media platforms and the company hopes to help them do that in a way that is “safe and age-appropriate”.
CCFC claimed Instagram exploits youngsters’ fear as they constantly look for approval from others while uploading images. The organisation further added that the platform’s continuous focus on appearance and self-presentation would be a challenge to adolescents’ privacy and wellbeing.