A group of 44 attorneys general from different states of the United States have asked the CEO of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg, to abandon plans to release a version of Instagram in order to children under 13 years old, considering that its use can be “harmful” to your health.
In an open letter sent to Zuckerberg on Monday, the National Association of Attorneys General of the United States has denounced that “it seems that Facebook does not respond to a need, but rather creates one, since this platform mainly attracts children who otherwise they wouldn’t have an Instagram account. ”
For this reason, the magistrates have asked that he abandon his plans to create a version for children of Instagram, and consider that a platform in which the under 13 years to publish content is “contrary” to your protection.
This request from the United States Attorneys General responds to Facebook’s plans to create a version of Instagram aimed at children under the age of 13, who are not allowed to create accounts on Instagram for adults, as revealed by internal documents published by BuzzFeed News.
“The use of social networks can be harmful to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to face the challenges of having an account on social networks, “warned the 44 United States attorneys general who signed the letter, representatives of most states and territories such as Guam and Puerto Rico.
In addition, US magistrates have denounced that Facebook “historically has failed to protect the well-being of children on its platforms,” citing problems such as one that affected the children’s version of Facebook Messenger in 2019 and allowed children contact strangers.
To support their requests, the letter has cited different academic studies that suggest that the use of social networks “can be harmful to the physical, emotional and mental well-being of children”.
In fact, some of the studies go so far as to point out that the use of social networks by young people “increases mental anguish and self-injurious and suicidal behavior “ or even that, in particular, Instagram “has been frequently alerted to lead to suicidal ideas, depression and concern about body image.”
Additionally, attorneys general have argued that children are not prepared to manage an Instagram account as they “do not have a developed understanding of privacy” and may not be prepared to handle inappropriate content or threats such as sexual predators.
Among the motives of the US magistrates are also concerns about the use of Instagram for harassment and ‘cyberbullying’ among children themselves.