Netflix for Kids, YouTube for Kids and now the question is, could Instagram for Kids be next?
The letter cited privacy and mental health concerns for children, and follows concerns from Congress and child safety groups about children under 13 years old using Instagram.
Back in March, Instagram said “Protecting young people on Instagram is important to us,” while advocating the latest safety tools and privacy settings for parents.
Instagram included at the time features that protect younger users “prevents adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them. For example, when an adult tries to message a teen who doesn’t follow them, they receive a notification that DM’ing them isn’t an option.”
Children have to be at least 13 to use Instagram at this time.
A Facebook spokesperson said in a statement to CNN Business on May 10, that developing an Instagram experience for kids under 13 means giving parents visibility and control over what their kids are doing on the social platform. Facebook said they are developing these experiences with consultation from experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates, along with working with legislators and regulators, including the nation’s attorneys general, CNN reported.
The letter signed by dozens AGs to Zuckerberg states, “research shows a link between young people’s use of social media and the “increase in mental distress, self-injurious behavior and suicidality among youth.”
The letter explains that “young children are not equipped to handle the range of challenges that come with having an Instagram account.”
“Children do not have a developed understanding of privacy. Specifically, they may not fully appreciate what content is appropriate for them to share with others, the permanency of content they post on an online platform, and who has access to what they share online. They are also simply too young to navigate the complexities of what they encounter online, including inappropriate content…,” the letter states.
What about anti-bullying on a child-friendly social media platform and preventing users from seeing abusive content, including racist, sexist or any other kind of abuse?
Instagram stated in April ‘combatting abuse is a complex challenge,’ and introduced a new tool that will “automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases and emojis, so you never have to see them.”
Overall the letter from the attorneys general says an “Instagram platform for young children is harmful for myriad reasons.”