A nonprofit has called on the Facebook chief to cancel plans to launch an Instagram platform for tweens.
An advocacy group on Thursday urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to cancel plans to launch a version of the popular Instagram photo-sharing app for children under 13, saying it would put tweens in “great risk”.
“Instagram, in particular, exploits the fear of young people to miss out and the desire for peer approval to encourage children and teens to constantly check their devices and share photos with their followers,” the letter said. (PDF) of the nonprofit Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood (CCFC), said.
BuzzFeed News last month reported that Instagram is planning to launch a version for tweens.
CCFC said the social media site’s focus on looks and branding is already a major challenge for the privacy and well-being of young children.
But those under 13 are even less equipped to face these challenges as they go through a crucial stage of development where they begin to learn more about social interactions, their strengths and challenges.
The group claims the current version of Instagram is not safe for children under the age of 13 and urged the Facebook chief to do something to protect millions of children who have lied about their age to create Instagram accounts.
The presence of underage children on the platform could constitute a violation of the United States Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the privacy laws of other countries, have they added.
The new version of Instagram will likely target children under the age of 10, as those between the ages of 10 and 12 who have existing Instagram accounts are unlikely to upgrade to the new kid’s version after experiencing the real deal, the report says. letter.
He also warned of the dangers of excessive screen time. Obesity, poorer psychological well-being, decreased happiness, decreased quality of sleep, increased risk of depression, and increased suicide attempts have all been linked to excessive use of social media.
Social media is not a child friendly space. Fifty-nine percent of American teens say they’ve been bullied on social media and young girls feel pressured to post sexualized selfies to get “likes” and validation, the CCFC added.
And to make matters worse, social media platforms are full of child sexual abuse images and material that are readily available to children.
The South Africa Center for Justice and Crime Prevention, the Norwegian Cancer Society and the Consumers’ Federation of America are among dozens of international organizations that signed the letter. The people signing the petition include child psychiatrists, human rights lawyers and professors.
CCFC is a non-profit organization that believes that marketing targeted to children and excessive screen time is harmful to child development. It also aims to end marketing to children.