SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Facebook may release a new social media application for kids. It’s called Instagram Kids and 44 attorneys general across the country are calling on Facebook officials to cancel the publication.
“We in law enforcement are already finding it very difficult to protect young children, especially teenagers and young adults, from sexual predators, child pornographers and human traffickers, and they use apps like Instagram to groom, entice and then exploit children. Says Sean Reyes, Utah attorney general. “If you already have this environment and then you expand and not only make it legal, but also invite younger children into this environment, it’s like a time bomb.”
Avery Holton, Associate Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Communications at the University of Utah, examines the use of social media.
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“Children can be strongly influenced, their emotions can be influenced, their mental stability and mental well-being can be influenced not only by what they encounter and what they compare themselves with, but also by what happens afterwards,” he says.
He says there are three other main problem areas.
- Disclosure of personal information
- Being perfect – like posting pictures of the “best version of yourself”.
“When it comes to outward-facing social media, there are often a lot of comparisons among children and teens. Do you know what my friends do that I am not? What should I do How do I keep up? “says Holton.” It is important to look at the mental health and well-being and the emotional health and well-being of children. “
Letter to Facebook about Instagram Kids
Another problem related to Instagram Kids is the use of data. Facebook officials say they will not track children’s data while using the application.
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“We are already in a lawsuit with Facebook that has raised some of our concerns about unauthorized use of information or data without the key stakeholders providing the information,” said AG Reyes. “This is our message to the Facebook team. See, you’ve done a great job with us and stand by us as a community to protect our young people. Can’t you see how wrong this decision is?”
The Safe UT app is one of the things that Attorney General Reyes said was great working with the Facebook team to help kids report bullying.
Now the Attorney General is urging parents to speak to their children about their online decisions and understand that their needs must be a delicate balance.
He adds, “Know what your children are up to, try to restrict access and don’t try to take things away. This tends to give more children an incentive to move on and find ways to get around it. Talk to them, be honest about the dangers that are out there. “