Instagram Plans On Making A Similar Application But For Kids Under the Age of 13, Lawmakers Disagree

If someone wants to make an Instagram account on the current application currently the age limit for it needs to be over 13 and above.

However, news is that the tech giant is working towards making an Instagram application which is for the minors. This means that kids who are under the age of 13 can make an account on the new application that Instagram will be launching.

This news was released by Buzz Feed News who reported this in March that Facebook had been exploring creating an Instagram service for children, based on internal documents it obtained.

Upon this, attorneys from 40+ different states urged Facebook to take back their plans on creating an Instagram for children under the age of 13 as social media has proven to show harmful effects on the children mental health and apart from this Facebook which is the main application of Instagram has an uneven past of protecting the privacy of children online already.

A letter was also sent on Monday by the federal lawmakers which raised questions and expressed concern over social media’s impact on children. The topic was a major theme that emerged from lawmakers at a House hearing in March with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Google CEO Sundar Pichai and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. Republican staff for that committee later highlighted online protection for kids as the main principle lawmakers should consider in their legislation.

From the looks of this it seems like that protecting young children from the negative impact of social media is the main concern of both Republicans and Democrats which in turns put additional pressure on Facebook and makes them rethink their new plans.

The letter which was sent on Monday to Zuckerberg also notified the CEO about the negative impacts the social media has on children and the research and reports with the letter show findings that social media and Instagram have a negative impact on the mental well-being of little children, including lower self-esteem and suicidal ideation.

The attorney generals have also expressed concerns that such minor kids cannot handle the pressure that comes along with maintaining an account on a social media platform like online privacy, the permanence of internet posts, and navigating what’s appropriate to view and share, they further highlighted that Facebook and Instagram had reported 20 million child sexual abuse images in 2020 on the main apps so what makes them think an application with kids will be safe when the one with sensible adults already holds so many problems.

Upon this, the officials further stated that Facebook’s history with products aimed at children has already shown some impacts where the company has failed to protect the privacy of children as promised. On this the attorney generals gave an example of Messenger Kids app for children between the age of 6 and 12 years old. The app contained a significant design flaw that allowed children to circumvent restrictions on online interactions and join group chats with strangers that were not previously approved by the children’s parents.

Therefore, the lawmakers and attorney generals are concerned about the launch of another social media application for kids and are afraid that Facebook will not live up to its promises again.

When Facebook was asked to comment on this, one spokesperson said that the company has only planned on launching an application like this as of yet and the plan is still in working. However, while exploring a version of Instagram for kids the company is certain and committed to not show ads in any Instagram experience that they develop for people under the age of 13.

According to Facebook, children already have been exposed to social media and internet at a very young age and the company has even found and banned some accounts on their platforms that were being used by kids who were underage than what was required on the company’s policy. Hence the tech giant believes that they want to improve this situation by delivering experiences that give parents visibility and control over what their kids are doing.

The company understands that any experience they develop must prioritize the safety and privacy of young minds and therefore the company will be working hand in hand with legislators and regulators, including the nation’s attorneys’ general as well as will consult experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates.

Read next: Instagram is Working On Diminishing the Use of Feed Posts Being Reshared to Stories as Well as Adding a New Option On Its Web Version
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