Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,
We urge Facebook to cancel plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13.
Young children aren’t ready to have their own social media accounts. Instagram is designed to keep users constantly checking their devices and promotes oversharing of personal information. And Instagram’s focus on photo sharing and idealized appearance makes the platform particularly unsuitable for children who are in the midst of crucial stages of developing their sense of self.
Please show the world you take seriously the vast concerns your products are having on young people by abandoning your plans to target young children.
According to an internal memo published by BuzzFeed, Facebook plans to build a version of Instagram for children under 13. Instagram is not safe or appropriate for young children, and the research supports that.
In the elementary and middle school years, children experience incredible growth in their social competencies, abstract thinking, and sense of self. Finding outlets for self-expression and connection with their peers become especially important. An Instagram for kids would exploit these rapid developmental changes.
A growing body of research demonstrates that excessive use of digital devices and social media is harmful to adolescents. Instagram, in particular, exploits young people’s fear of missing out and desire for peer approval to encourage children and teens to constantly check their devices and share photos with their followers. The platform’s relentless focus on appearance, self-presentation, and branding presents challenges to adolescents’ privacy and wellbeing.
Millions of children between the ages of 10 and 12 have already lied about their age to create Instagram accounts and are highly unlikely to migrate to a “babyish” version of the platform. The true audience for a kids’ version of Instagram will be much younger children who do not currently have accounts on the platform.
Younger children are even less developmentally equipped to deal with these challenges, as they are learning to navigate social interactions, friendships, and their inner sense of strengths and challenges during this crucial window of development.
Moreover, young children are highly persuadable by algorithmic prediction of what they might click on next, and we are very concerned about how automated decision making would determine what children see and experience on a kids’ Instagram platform.
Sign the petition and join us in asking Mark Zuckerberg to put the wellbeing of children ahead of Facebook’s market share.
Thank you for speaking out against Facebook's proposed Instagram for kids!
Now more than ever, children need time to learn, socialize, grow, and play away from screens. What they definitely don't need? An image-obsessed app vying for their attention!
Want to go further?
Share our petition with your friends, family, and others to spread the word and get Facebook to cancel their plans for Instagram for kids! Here's some sample language you can use to get started:
Twitter: Now especially, what kids really need is time to play and learn away from digital devices, not their own version of Instagram, an app relentlessly focused on image and branding. Take a stand with me and @fairplayforkids and add your name to their petition! fairplayforkids.org/instagram
Facebook: Now more than ever, what children really need is time to play, learn, and socialize away from digital devices, not their own version of Instagram, an app that is relentlessly focused on branding, appearance, and self-presentation. For young children, the safest Instagram is no Instagram at all! Take a stand with me and Fairplay and add your name to their petition! fairplayforkids.org/instagram
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