Social media has proven itself to be as much of a blessing as it has been a curse as it continues to evolve in order to meet today’s standards of those who choose to use the platforms. Instant photo sharing, status updates, and being able to connect with those around the world is as helpful as it is harmful. In moderation, social media is a wonderful tool to utilize for personal and professional use; though when gone unmonitored, it can damage the development of today’s youth, thus warranting Instagram Kids.
Instagram Kids has recently gone under fire as the app’s purpose was grossly miscommunicated. Media critics and other media platforms take aim at the application’s intention, causing a delay in the development of the modified version of the photo-sharing app. Instagram chief Adam Mosseri spoke on the concerns that flared up around the app’s creator, confirming that the Facebook-owned platform would continue to craft the parental-supervised social media. Mosseri clarified that Instagram Kids was never created for younger children, but targets the age range of “tweens,” or children from the ages of 10 to 12-year-olds. The Wall Street Journal reported their studies and findings on how dangerous it is to expose the young people of today to platforms such as Instagram, crediting the website with the development of eating disorders in young, impressionable girls.
As shocking as it may be to see a child with an iPad, iPhone, or any other piece of technology, children creating social media accounts of their own has become more widely accepted. There has been a lack of questions as to why children msy need access to the internet and a higher level of concern forming around what children are being exposed to. Instagram Kids intends on offering a more controlled version of the original Instagram app and will filter through what Instagram Kids users are able to come across. Parent controls will allow parents or guardians to determine what their children or anyone in their care can access while being able to open the dialogue around the effects of social media.
Issues that could stem from the release of Instagram Kids have resulted in urges for Facebook to abandon their progress and scrap the app. Josh Golin, the executive director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said via BBC, “Instagram’s business model relies on extensive data collection, maximizing time on devices, promoting a culture of over-sharing and idolizing influencers, as well as a relentless focus on often altered physical appearance. It is certainly not appropriate for seven-year-olds.” A survey conducted in 2020 recorded the responses of teenage girls and their body image in response to Instagram posts. 32% of those surveyed said that they felt worse about their body. 22% percent reported that they felt better, and 46% said that there was “no impact.”
Other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter can equally attribute the mental health and self-image of young people who choose to use them, and while not recorded in this specific study pertaining to Instagram, can be deemed just as harmful to negative body image. Instagram Kids aims for “safe” means of granting access to kids who want to open a social media account, protecting them from those who intend on preying and abusing children, though Instagram Kids has not explicitly described how they will combat those threats.
The procession of working on Instagram Kids has been paused as more calls for Facebook to decide against launching the app have surfaced. The decision to move forward with the “child-friendly” app has currently been put on hold. As of now, there’s no plan from Facebook to fully cease production on Instagram Kids.