Child Health Experts are Busy Calling on Facebook to Abandon Plans for a New' Instagram for Kids'

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A new article on Social Media Today asks whether a new kids version of Instagram would be a good thing, or could it negatively impact the development of youngsters through increased social pressure, and exploitative algorithms?

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."
Instagram for Kids isn't a solid plan as yet, but it's getting discussed, and Adam Mosseri recently said the company is exploring the option to cater for younger users. Insta is full of kids anyway - despite an age restriction. Research says that tens of thousands of minors are not only active in the app, but are also exposing their personal information, often unwittingly, in an effort to utilize expanded tools.

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."
What do people here think? It's challenging enough for many adults to remain unaffected by some of the pressures exerted by social media platforms. How would kids cope, and is such a feature likely to benefit them or make things worse?
#abandon #busy #calling #child #experts #facebook #health #instagram #kids’ #new’ #plans
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  • Profile picture of the author Kay King
    A new article on Social Media Today asks whether a new kids version of Instagram would be a good thing, or could it negatively impact the development of youngsters through increased social pressure, and exploitative algorithms?

    How about unhealthy lifestyles for kids glued to computer screens and totally ignoring exercise, interaction with real people, animals and nature? How about the continued increase of obesity in children?

    What 'social media' is really asking is 'how can we promote this and make it sound acceptable when we KNOW experts/parents/educators say this is bad for children....'

    There is a whole demographic to exploit -kids that are missing out on a new source of advertisements, influencers, etc....can't have that, can we? I cannot imagine a parent thinking this is a positive development for children.
    Saving one dog will not change the world - but the world will change forever for that one dog.

    My mind still thinks I'm 25.
    My body thinks my mind is an idiot.
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  • Profile picture of the author Meena Das
    Interesting and i agree with you. SDGCCPB also working for child education in Punjab. they plan 17 goals which they wants to achieve till 2030.
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