Facebook Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) is planning to launch an Instagram version for children below 13 years but a public health organization has warned that this will be a terrible idea.
CCFC warns against Instagram for kids
In an open letter to Facebook CEO, the Campaign For A Commercial-Free Childhood urged the CEO to put back plans to introduce Instagram for kids because such an app will put children at risk. The public health experts said that the company is not ready to launch and oversee such an app which will have massive influence over young children.
The social media company has said that the new app will not include ads, and it has been designed for children below 13. The company says that it is trying to find new ways using AI that it will use to confirm that users in the current Instagram platform are not below 13. It is vital to note that the age restriction is a product of the 1998 Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA), which lays down strict requirements and possible liabilities for online sites collecting personal data of users below 13 years without their parent’s consent.
Studies show excessive social media harmful to kids
According to child safety experts, social media is a serious risk for young children. Several studies indicate that excessive social media use in children can lead to low self-esteem and increase chances of loneliness and anxiety. The open letter from CCFC comes a week after an internal memo from Instagram executives indicating that the launch of the app for children could be on the way.
CCFC indicated that since Instagram is a photo-sharing platform focusing on appearance and looks its might not be ideal for children that are in critical development stages. Further, the regulator added that teens and children, more so young girls, often associate excessively sexualized and edited pictures of themselves for attention on Instagram and popularity, which is not good for children still developing a sense of self. Therefore, Instagram for kids will violate COPPA and other privacy laws.