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Instagram for Kids App: US Lawmakers Urge Facebook to Drop Plans

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Highlights:

  • Facebook plans to launch a new version of Instagram just for kids under the age of 13.
  • The company will not show ads in any Instagram version for people under 13.
  • Instagram spokeswoman Stephanie Otway said news of the launch leaked prematurely.

Since the start of the pandemic, the number of kids online increases new heights, break every record. They use gadgets for online study, gaming, using social platforms. Now there is another social media platform for them to join. Facebook plans to launch a new version of Instagram just for kids under the age of 13.

Democratic US lawmakers urged Facebook executives to abandon plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under age 13 because its members feared it would put young users at “great risk.”

Social media designed for children could violate the privacy of younger people and create an increased risk of depression, along with a host of other potential harms.

The Campaign for a Commercial-free Childhood sent a letter, signed by 99 groups and individuals, to Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg raising similar concerns.

Instagram for Kids: The lawmakers said in the statement

“When it comes to putting people before profits, Facebook has forfeited the benefit of the doubt, and we strongly urge Facebook to abandon its plans to launch a version of Instagram for kids.”

Members of Congress have raised concerns that these apps are addictive, damaging the mental health and self-esteem of young people, and compromising children’s privacy. At the same time, tech companies are grappling with the reality that children under the age of 13, who are technically not permitted on their platforms will get access anyway.

Stephanie Otway, a Facebook spokeswoman said:

“The reality is that kids are online,” Ms. Otway said. “They want to connect with their family and friends, have fun and learn, and we want to help them in a way that is safe and age-appropriate.”

Ms. Otway said that the company would not show ads in any Instagram product developed for children younger than 13 and that it planned to consult with experts on children’s health and safety on the project. Instagram is also working on new age-verification methods to catch younger users, trying to lie about their age.

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