‘Instagram for Kids’ faces push back in KY, Facebook responds

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – Several groups are voicing their concerns after Facebook recently announced it will launch an ‘Instagram for kids’ ages 13 and younger.

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Menifee Elementary School guidance counselor Tamilyn Ingram says social media can be overwhelming even for adults, and so she said Facebook’s proposal is troubling.

“I don’t feel that it would be safe enough for our children,” Ingram said. “There’s a lot of maturity that has to be a part of someone before they can handle different situations on online platforms or social media in general.”

Ingram said there’s also the chance that young kids will be susceptible to predators.

It’s everyday that we see somebody’s account’s been hacked or cloned or something like that, and we wouldn’t want that for our children,” Ingram said.

Executive Director of Kentucky Youth Advocates Terry Brooks echoed that message and wasn’t shy about his criticism.

“The impact of that kind of idea is the equivalent of the NRA giving an 11-year-old a loaded gun and saying, ‘now, be careful,’” Brooks said.

Brooks said 44 attorneys general, including Kentucky’s Daniel Cameron, wrote a letter urging Facebook to abandon its plans.

Brooks points to data from Kentucky Incentives for Prevention showing 13-percent of 6th graders have been cyber bullied.

“Does anyone think that that number is not going to leapfrog with that kind of access to social media,” Brooks asked.

In a statement, Facebook said: “As every parent knows, kids are already online. We want to improve this situation by delivering experiences that give parents visibility and control over what their kids are doing. We are developing these experiences in consultation with experts in child development, child safety and mental health, and privacy advocates. We also look forward to working with legislators and regulators, including the nation’s attorneys general. In addition, we commit today to not showing ads in any Instagram experience we develop for people under the age of 13.”

The reality is kids already have much more internet access than a decade ago, so despite the possible creation of this new platform, Ingram said parents need to be on the lookout for red flags such as acting out or shutting down.

“Anything that’s just not normal with what you’ve witnessed with your child before, I would definitely look into that,” Ingram said.

Click here for tips shared by Kentucky Youth Advocates about kid’s online safety.