Here at JustSociale, when we heard the news that Facebook is planning to create a new version of Instagram – called Kidstagram – we were conflicted.
Of course, we believe everyone should be able to use the internet and social media freely, safely and equally. However, whilst we are glad that Facebook is attempting to address the fact that young people face abuse, bullying and predation on social networking sites such as Instagram, we can’t help but be concerned about both the mental and physical impacts that increased social media use may have on people so young.
These are our main questions to Facebook regarding this announcement:
Firstly, how will Facebook ensure that children are protected from predators? The fact that the app is even being considered shows that this issue is important, but how exactly will it be safer?
Secondly, will Facebook be educating its younger users on how to be a good digital citizen? I.e. how to use the platform safely, treating other users with dignity and respect? Or will it be up to the individuals and parents to do this themselves?
Finally, how will Instagram ensure that children do not encounter health risks related to too much social media use and screen time? This includes social media addiction, which Harvard researchers and many others have acknowledged is a widespread concern?
Adults are already spending an average of 11 hours a day looking at their screens, and children aren’t far behind, with many already using computers, tablets and smartphones in their classrooms and at home. Do they need any more encouragement to look at a screen?
The common consensus among the JustSociale team is that our fondest childhood memories involve heading off on adventures, playing games, and spending time with family and friends. We can’t help but wonder if younger generations will have the same, enriching and well rounded upbringing.
What do you think about Kidstagram? Would you let your kids use it?