Instagram Youth draws fire over safety and privacy

“When you're a preteen, you really care a lot about what your peers … think. And Instagram, with that sort of photo-heavy focus and likes-heavy focus, might increase the stress of popularity issues for kids in that age,” says Naomi Nix, social media company reporter for Bloomberg. Photo by Shutterstock.

Instagram Youth is specifically targeted at kids ages 13 and younger. Facebook, which owns Instagram, says the separate platform could be safer for children who are already finding ways to use the adult version. Critics say this could hurt children’s mental health, and be a place for cyber bullies and predators. 

This week, 44 state attorney generals are urging Facebook to scrap Instagram for kids. They point to research saying social media use can increase loneliness, contribute to depression and even suicide attempts. That’s according to Naomi Nix, social media reporter for Bloomberg.

Lawmakers are also worried about how much Facebook would adequately protect kids’ data, particularly with its history of privacy scandals. 

While Facebook has pledged to not show ads on Instagram Youth, Nix wonders what they’ll do with info they collect on the specific pages kids are looking at.