Childhood development experts don't exactly think this thing is going to be great. Consumer groups just called on Facebook to halt the plans, specifying various concerns around the proposal. The New York Times published a letter from a coalition that includes the Consumer Federation of America and the Parents Television and Media Council. It says, not only would the project fail to see youngsters currently active in the main app switch over to the kid-safe version, but it could also negatively impact a wider range of children via Facebook's established processes:
"Children between the ages of 10 and 12 who have existing Instagram accounts are unlikely to migrate to a "babyish" version of the platform after they have experienced the real thing. The true audience for a kids' version of Instagram will be much younger children who do not currently have accounts on the platform.
A growing body of research demonstrates that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to adolescents. 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 with their followers. The platform's relentless focus on appearance, self-presentation, and branding presents challenges to adolescents' privacy and wellbeing."
The letter goes on to criticize Facebook's data-gathering-based business approach:
"While collecting valuable family data and cultivating a new generation of Instagram users may be good for Facebook's bottom line; it will likely increase the use of Instagram by young children who are particularly vulnerable to the platform's manipulative and exploitative features.
Facebook's long track record of exploiting young people and putting them at risk makes the company particularly unsuitable as the custodian of a photo-sharing and social messaging site for children. Leaked documents have revealed that Facebook boasted to advertisers that it could target teens at the exact moment they were feeling bad about themselves, including when they have negative thoughts about their bodies. Another report from Reveal showed that Facebook employees referred to children who racked up thousands of dollars in credit card charges through in-game purchases as "whales," a term casinos use to classify incredibly lucrative high rollers."