Recently, the news that Facebook is considering launching Instagram for kids created quite a fervor among child safety experts and advocacy groups. Several Child Safety experts from around the world want Mark Zuckerberg to scrap his plans to launch a version of Instagram for children.
Is Instagram for kids a bad idea?
Instagram is a marketing tool integrated with social media. In the real-world context, it is like a giant shopping mall where anyone can go around wearing a mask. No one can tell who the “real person” behind the mask is. While Instagram can attempt to make a kids’ section to provide a perception that it is safe, there is no way to determine the real identity of the person opening an Instagram account. Until there is a way to know the real identity of an Instagram user, the risk of predators lurking around the “kids’ section” cannot be mitigated completely. Moreover, other issues like excessive screen time, cyberbullying, privacy etc. might also get amplified as it will add to ‘always on’ mode for kids.
Advantages of Instagram for kids
It’s a well-known fact that a large number of underage kids are on various social media channels without the knowledge of their parents. Having a separate channel for children will deter the children from using ‘’Instagram for adults’ and use ‘Instagram for kids’ instead.
A parent’s view
“My 12-year-old child was insisting on opening an Instagram account since most of her friends are already on it. Before letting her open an account, I checked the accounts of some of her friends. I was concerned to see the lack of privacy, nasty comments & the nature of activity in some of those accounts. Since then, I am trying hard to deter my child from taking a dip into the ocean of ‘Social Media’, but it is a battle which I might lose very soon” Anne, Chief Parent Officer at DigiPanion shared.
To conclude, social media has its advantages and disadvantages. While technology itself is not bad for children, it depends on how it is used. In Fact there are several technology solutions which have helped in the advancing quality of education globally. For the tech giants looking to introduce social media to children, the standard for security and quality will have to be very high. They will also have to answer the question which has been lurking around for years i.e. How is the social media channel going to make money?