44 attorneys general boycotting Instagram Kids ahead of app launch

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Facebook may be releasing a new social media app for kids. It’s called Instagram Kids, and 44 attorney general offices across the country are asking Facebook officials to cancel the post.

“It is already very difficult for us in law enforcement to protect young children, especially adolescents and young adults, from sexual predators, child pornographers, traffickers, and they use apps like Instagram to heal , then to attract, then to exploit children, ”said Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes. “When you already have that environment and you’re growing, and not only making it legal, but also inviting young children into that environment, it’s like a time bomb.

Avery Holton, associate professor and associate chair of the Department of Communications at the University of Utah, studies the use of social media.

“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 to, but also by what goes on with them. more, ”he says.

He says there are three other main areas of concern.

  • Intimidation
  • Sharing of personal information
  • Being perfect – like posting pictures of the “best version of themselves”.

“When it comes to really outward looking social media, there are often a lot of comparisons kids and teens have, you know what my friends are doing and what I’m not doing? What should I do? How can I keep up with the pace? Said Holton. “It’s important to look at the mental health and mental well-being, as well as the emotional health and emotional well-being of children.”

Another issue with Instagram Kids is the use of data. Facebook officials say they won’t be tracking children’s data while using the app.

“We are already in a lawsuit with Facebook indicating a number of our concerns about the unauthorized use of information or data without the key stakeholders, those who provide the information,” says AG Reyes. “This is our message to the Facebook team, look you did a great job with us standing side by side with us as a community to protect our youth, don’t you see how misguided this particular decision is? ? “

The Safe UT app is one of the things that Attorneys General Reyes said the Facebook team was great to work with so kids can report bullying.

Now the Attorney General urges parents to talk to their children about their decisions online, understanding that their needs must be a delicate balance.

He adds, “Know what your kids are doing, try to limit access and don’t try to take things away from them. This tends to make kids more fuss over and find ways around the problem. Talk to them, be honest about the dangers that exist. “

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