Facebook, Instagram owner announced its plan for starting an Instagram page for children. It explained that the platform would be for kids to come online and connect with their family and friends; learn and have fun.
However, health advocates around the world were against the moot. The health advocate, Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood raised a letter of petition for Facebook to scrap its plan.
According to BuzzFeed News, it reported that the announcement was uploaded on the employee message board by Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vice president of product.
The internal company post had mentioned that executives at Facebook are planning to build a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.
“We’re working on new age verification methods to keep under-13s off Instagram, and have just started exploring an Instagram experience for kids that is age-appropriate and managed by parents.“, said Facebook.
Instagram also said the platform was to help the kids have fun and connect with their family and friends.
“Kids are already online, and want to connect with their family and friends, have fun, and learn. We want to help them do that in a safe and age-appropriate way, and find practical solutions to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access apps,”.
Previously, Children under the age of 13 were not allowed on the platform.
Content of the letter; dangers of the platform
In opposition to the report, a letter was addressed to Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s CEO. It contained signature from 99 groups and individuals; Including 35 organisations and 64 individual experts.
Also, they claimed that the platform is dangerous for children’s health and privacy; pointed out that those below the age of 13 are unlikely to leave the platform if there was a more appropriate platform (babyish).
The executive director of Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood, Josh Golin said that Instagram’s business model is not appropriate for the kids. He listed things like “extensive data collection, maximising time on devices, promoting a culture of over-sharing and idolising influencers, as well as a relentless focus on often altered physical appearance.”
Other content of the letter
The signatories pointed in the letter that the real target for Instagram is to target those under the age of 13. It noted a series of things on the platform that would serve as a negative impact on the children.
“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,”
“Children and teens (especially young girls) have learned to associate overly sexualised, highly edited photos of themselves with more attention on the platform, and popularity among their peers.”
Also, the letter quoted that there was unnecessary commercial pressure on children, which was unfair to them. This was referenced by an analysis by digital monitoring agency Sprout Social; who said one in every three posts on the platform is an advert.
Cites and reference to past influence on young people
The letter also referred to some past influence that took a negative stance on the people. It referenced the period when Instagram was criticised for not making its paid ads clear.
Also, the letter cited that Instagram owner company has had a long history of exploring young people; a flaw in the design for messenger kids that allow them to bypass parental control; leaked document revealing Facebook boasting to advertisers to target teens with inferiority issues.
Just this week, Instagram was forced to apologise after it promoted harmful diet content; It didn’t sit well with users with an eating disorder.
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