By: Tara Thompson
Recently, the company that works for facebook has come up with a very controversial idea. Instagram for kids ages 10-12. Most kids that age are on instagram and lied about their age, the only way this could be helpful is if it could regulate the media and the algorithm, but we know that most likely won’t happen. Children are too immature to be on social media in the first place, and subjecting them to this kind of media just isn’t necessary. Not to mention the possible instances of random adults messaging them and getting information from ignorant children. The phrase “like taking candy from a baby” could easily be applied here. Subjecting them to this kind of environment only leaves room for disaster.
Thankfully other people feel the same way, Instagram Kids has gotten a lot of pushback and actually had to press pause on the notion. But the possibility for it to start playing again is scary. The possibilities are endless, anything could happen, anything could end up scarring the child. Frances Haugen, a former product manager for Facebook, testified during a Senate hearing, she said “The company’s leadership knows how to make Facebook and Instagram safer, but won’t make the necessary changes because they have put their astronomical profits before people.” The fact that former workers know the potential Facebook has to create a more safe media platform, but knowing they would never do anything to change is saddening.
According to the International Journal of Adolescence and Youth “The World Health Organization (WHO, 2017) reported that 10–20% of children and adolescents worldwide experience mental health problems. It is estimated that 50% of all mental disorders are established by the age of 14 and 75% by the age of 18 (Kessler et al., 2007; Kim-Cohen et al., 2003). The most common disorders in children and adolescents are generalized anxiety disorder and depression.” This added pressure will only make these numbers go up. All we can hope is that the possible creators get some sense knocked into them by the abundance of angry parents and realize what they’re doing isn’t only unethical but just not necessary.