Hawaii Attorney General joins coalition urging Facebook to scrap Instagram for kids plans

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HONOLULU (KHON2) — Attorney General Clare E. Connors is urging Facebook to stop its plans to launch a version of Instagram for kids under the age of 13.

She joins a coalition of 44 attorneys general who are concerned about the safety and wellbeing of children, citing that social media can be detrimental to them for countless reasons.

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In a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, the coalition says that Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms.

“Research shows that social media use by our young children is detrimental to their development and mental health, which means companies such as Facebook should strive to protect them from harm rather than benefit from their vulnerabilities,” said Attorney General Connors. “I urge Facebook to consider the well-researched evidence of harm that a social media platform targeting children under the age of 13 could cause and to abandon further development.”

In their letter, the attorneys general also expressed concerns cyberbullying on Instagram and how the platform can be used by predators to target children.

In 2020, Facebook and Instagram reported 20 million child sexual abuse images. A 2017 survey found that 42% of young Instagram users had experienced cyberbullying on the platform.

The attorneys general also cited research that shows a link between a young person’s social media use and an increase in mental distress, contending that as kids spend more time online during the pandemic, these issues have likely been exacerbated.

Click here to read a copy of the letter.

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