It is quite evident how people are addicted to social media these days and how their lives revolve around likes and comments they get on their posts. This affects the mental health of an individual, introducing them to depression, anxiety, stress and constant need of attention and pleasing people. In a world where not just teenagers but even adults suffer the consequences of social media addiction and fear of missing out, Facebook has planned a new version of Instagram designed for kids.
But, Mark Zukerberg’s plan for new Instagram version for kids is receiving flak as more than 180,000 people have signed the petition urging company to scrap its plans. The signatures were gathered by three nonprofit and grassroots organizations.
Earlier, in a Congressional hearing on misinformation, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg had confirmed the plans for an Instagram for kids. He stated that the plans are in the initial stages.
The three NGOs collecting these signatures on petitions countering facebook’s plans are Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, SumOfUs and a joint effort led by the Juggernaut Project. These groups collectively argue that a version of Instagram (a photo and video sharing app with over 1 billion users) is unsuitable for kids under 13.
The organizations said that the signing of petitions began in April and they are now planning to submit these to Facebook ahead of the company's annual shareholders meeting. The Campaign for a Commerical-Free Childhood’s executive director, Josh Golin said groups “will not allow Instagram to use young children as pawns in its war with TikTok for market share.”
“Teens and even adults on Instagram struggle with the never-ending focus on appearance, the relentless fear of missing out, promotion of influencer culture and the pressure to collect likes,” Golin added.
“Instagram for young children is among the greediest, most tine-deaf, and wrong-headed ideas ever to emerge from Silicon Valley.”
In response to these petitions, the company said that it has only begun exploring the idea of a kid-friendly version of Instagram and is considering factors like their safety, privacy and development.
“We have just started exploring a version of Instagram for kids. We agree that any experience we develop must prioritize their safety and privacy, and we will consult with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates. In addition, we will not show ads in any Instagram experience we develop for people under the age of 13,” the Facebook spokesperson said.