Pressure from Attorneys General and Non-Profits Leads to Facebook “Pausing” Instagram Kids App

By B.N. Frank

Earlier this year, 44 Attorneys General and several non-profit groups asked Facebook to NOT create an Instagram page for kids 13 and under.  The company has finally agreed to delay launching it.

From CBS News:

Facebook says it will “pause” Instagram Kids after backlash

Facebook said Monday that it will “pause” its development of Instagram Kids, a social media service for children under 13, after pushback from child advocates, parents and lawmakers. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said the company remains committed to the product but will suspend the project as it seeks to address their concerns.

“We’ll use this time to work with parents, experts and policymakers to demonstrate the value and need for this product,” Mosseri wrote in blog post announcing the move to halt work on Instagram Kids.

“I have three children and their safety is the most important thing in my life. I hear the concerns with this project, and we’re announcing these steps today so we can get it right,” he added.

Facebook has announced that it’s “pausing” its Instagram Kids project in order to “work with parents, experts and policymakers to demonstrate the value and need for this product.” The announcement follows criticism from 44 state attorneys general who asked Facebook to abandon the project, and a request from Democratic lawmakers for more detail about the project.

The Instagram team said that it was building the app to get around the problem of kids accessing Instagram without parental permission. “We started this project to address an important problem seen across our industry: kids are getting phones younger and younger, misrepresenting their age, and downloading apps that are meant for those 13 or older,” wrote Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri.

At the same time, the company rejected the idea it was capitulating due to criticism. “Critics of ‘Instagram Kids’ will see this as an acknowledgement that the project is a bad idea. That’s not the case,” Mosseri wrote. “The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today.”

An important part of what we’ve been developing for ‘Instagram Kids’ is a way for parents to supervise their child’s use of Instagram. While we’re pausing our development of ‘Instagram Kids,’ we’ll continue our work to allow parents to oversee their children’s accounts by expanding these tools to teen accounts (aged 13 and over) on Instagram.

Some of the issues raised about the project revolve around Facebook’s problems with privacy and particularly child safety. “Not only is social media an influential tool that can be detrimental to children who are not of appropriate age, but this plan could place children directly in the paths of predators,” New York state attorney general Letitia James said when the project first came to light.

Most recently, The Wall Street Journal published an article claiming that Facebook has knowingly ignored its own research showing that Instagram is toxic to the mental health of younger people. Yesterday, the social network refuted that article as well, saying its research said that young people had “both positive and negative experiences with social media,” among other things.

Read full article

Over the years, American tech insiders (aka “Silicon Valley Parents”) have gone to considerable expense to limit their kids’ use and exposure to screens.  This includes sending them to private low-tech or no-tech schools (see 1, 2), requiring nannies to sign “No Screens” contracts, and spying on nannies so they don’t break their contracts.  In the meantime, Big Tech has continued to market their products to children and public schools (see 1, 2, 3, 4, 5).  Of course if it wasn’t profitable, they wouldn’t be doing it.

Another reason to reduce kids’ use of screens:  research has determined that they are more vulnerable to radiation exposure from devices and wireless technology in general (see 1, 2, 3).

Activist Post reports regularly about unsafe technology.  For more information visit our archives and the following websites.

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