Social media can be a dangerous place for many reasons, and it gets worse when we consider children. This apparently prompted social media giant Facebook to work on a kids version of the Instagram app. According to Engadget, this endeavor has been heavily pushed back by prosecutors and lawmakers across the country.
What is the Instagram kids app?
It’s fun to create and share content on Instagram, but it can also be a funnel for inappropriate content and a point of contact between predators and unsuspecting teens. According to the Instagram team, children can access age-restricted content on the internet by incorrectly indicating their age.
The team is developing an app for tweens between the ages of 10 and 12. This app only shows family friendly content, no ads and kids need parental permission to sign up.
However, there are many people who don’t like this idea
On paper, the Instagram kids app seems like a good idea, but it faces a lot of criticism across the board. 44 state attorneys general and other lawmakers completely oppose this idea. They think Facebook should give up the project entirely.
New York attorney general Letitia James stated that social media is generally harmful to children’s mental health. Not only that, this also puts kids right in the path of predators – which is not a false statement. We can’t deny that an app for kids will host a lot of bad characters.
The original Instagram app enables direct messaging and tagging. These tools are used to target kids and we don’t know how (if at all) the Instagram kids app deals with them.
For this reason, Facebook is pausing the project
Remember when LG “paused” production on its rolling phone? Well, this project has the same feeling. Facebook mentioned that the production of this app will only be halted. However, the company said nothing about the opposition it faces from lawmakers. Instead, Facebook says it is pausing to find better ways for parents to use the app to supervise their children.
There’s no telling if we’ll ever see this app out on the market. With all of the push back Facebook is getting, things aren’t looking great.
The impact of social media on kids is still an evolving bar chart. The age at which children create their first accounts is getting lower and lower, it seems to be accelerating. Hopefully when the Instagram kids app launches it can make a difference.