Last March, we learned of Facebook’s plans to create a version of Instagram for kids under 13. So far, only people aged 13 or over can create an account on the photo social network.
As expected with regard to news related to social networks and minors, the idea of an Instagram for boys and girls sparked much debate and many defenders of the rights of minors opposed it.
Just a few days ago, several US attorneys general sent a letter to Mark Zuckerberg urging him to abandon his plan to create this version of Instagram for the sake of the privacy and safety of the little ones.
If the project goes ahead, it would not be the only app of its kind that allows its use by children under 13. This is already happening with TikTok, which has a series of measures to protect the security and privacy of these users.
Next, we analyze the pros and cons of an Instagram for minors.
Pro: Instagram as a learning tool
Like other social networks like Facebook or Twitter, Instagram can also serve as a learning tool. The content of the latter is very easy to share between user and user, and even between people you do not know personally.
With Instagram, kids and adults can learn languages, make crafts, play an instrument, and any other activity that might interest them. And it’s completely free and at your fingertips.
Cons: Content of all kinds, also adult
But just as it is extremely easy to access useful, practical and learnable content, it is also dangerously easy to access photographs and videos that are not suitable for minors, either because of their violence. or because they have a sexual theme.
We understand that an underage Instagram would put measures to prevent this type of content from reaching a child, but sometimes technology fails and we cannot be 100% confident of the algorithms they would implement to prevent it.
Pro: Unleash creativity
The very characteristics of Instagram allow the user to let themselves be carried away by the imagination and try to be creative both in the images and videos that they hang, in the text with which they accompany them and the Stories and Reels he creates.
TikTok has already demonstrated the great potential that today’s teenagers, digital natives, can have with a cell phone in their hands. And maybe this version of Instagram can improve those same skills in those under 13.
Against: Release insecurity too
In the digital age we live in, where it seems like you only have the experiences you post on Instagram, insecurities and comparisons are the order of the day. We all wanna be ours or ours influence favorite.
But it’s good to remember that what people upload to Instagram is just their best version. And while we all know deep down that this is the case, it’s hard to take that into account. And it must be even more difficult when you’re not even 13 years old.
Social networks like Instagram have been accused of promoting narcissism and low self-esteem, which can be very harmful for a minor who is still developing their own personality.
Pro: communication and networking tool
Years ago, there were those who corresponded with a person halfway around the world without ever meeting. Boys and girls today can do it even easier: by finding other people with similar interests on Instagram.
But besides being able to do that networking precocious that could serve them in adulthood, Instagram and other social networks are a good way to stay in touch with their friends during, for example, the holidays.
Against: The big problem with bullying
Harassment is a scourge of our society, which in the age of social media has found other ways to manifest itself. So-called digital violence is also Instagram’s big unfinished business, which can’t seem to do enough to avoid it.
With an Instagram for minors, the business will have to do a lot more than it does now to prevent this from happening intimidation
Pro: Learn Fake News
In favor of an Instagram for minors, there are those who claim to have a great opportunity to get in touch with the fake news from an early age and learn to discern truth from lying even before you turn 13.
To do this, of course, the child will have to ask an adult when they will find content that may not be quite real. And you will also need the adult or adult to know enough that this is fake news.
Cons: not learning fake news
And this is the big problem of fake news: they are not always easy to identify, especially if you are a minor with little knowledge of life in general and so little experience with disinformation.
The power that fake news has gained in recent years is well known, either when it comes to theorizing about 5G, or Facebook’s fundamental role in spreading it in the US election.
Pro: They’re gonna use it anyway
Another argument is one that ensures that while there is no Instagram designed for children under 13, they will continue to use it as before. Thus, it is better to give them a platform created with all the possible controls and limitations.
Parents, on the other hand, are already used to regulating the use of social media and electronic devices by their children in general, but with Facebook’s proposal, they could relax a bit more.
Con: They’ll keep using it with traps
Even though it’s only so far that Facebook has considered creating an Instagram for kids under 13, that doesn’t mean they haven’t used Instagram until now. Quite the contrary: they have always found ways to break the rules.
And that will surely continue to be the case in the future if they do not want to accept the functional limitations that the profile for children under 13 is likely to have. Without any usage time limit, moreover, it could contribute to their dependence on network usage.
Verdict: good idea or serious mistake?
In this article, we’ve listed several pros and cons that have arisen around the debate over whether children under 13 should be able to use Instagram. And, in our opinion, those who see it as a big mistake carry more weight.
While it is true that it can be a creative platform and to meet people from all over the world, there are other ways to do it more safely and without having to face great risks: harassment, the presence of predators and addiction.