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‘Instagram for kids below 13 needs to be discouraged’, say parents and academicians

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Express News Service

Many kids already have partial access to Facebook and Instagram through their parents’ phones, and now Facebook is considering to launch a version of Instagram for those under age 13. At present, the company does not let kids under this age to create an account on the platform.

Facebook had also announced that it will be “exploring a parent-controlled experience” on Instagram. The Morning Standard spoke to parents, academicians, psychologists and people on what they feel about the decision.

ALKA KAPUR, 53, Principal, Modern Public School Shalimar Bagh, New Delhi

Access to social media before a particular age is not wise because a child does not know where to stop. Some children are curious to surf a few sites/ contents that are not appropriate for them, and there is a possibility that they will go in the negative direction.

It is too early to say that this is a trick by the company to expand the user base. Not all parents are able to look after the kids, considering their working schedule. It also takes them away from reading books or newspapers. Whatever knowledge the child needs, the schools and parents can provide.

DR HARSIMRANJIT KAUR, 38, Ophthalmologist, Yamuna Vihar

As it is, the pandemic has increased their screen hours in the form of classes and then for entertainment purposes. Parents are already resorting to handing over phones to their kids to keep them involved and this introduction of Insta is just going to add another dimension to the whole scenario. With so many online solutions available, kids are using less of their analytical and creative skills. Emotionally too, kids seem to be drained these days.

They come across things like murders, sex, obscene language, violence, and do you think kids can live through a normal, innocent childhood? The result is aggression, depression and even suicidal attempts. Social media giants should take a responsible step and start a drive to get kids back to their childhood, to nature and to their families.

ANUPAM SINGH, 42, Regional Head, Amara Raja Batteries Ltd

I would not allow my kids to use it because it will distract them. The influence will not be good for tender minds, and it might lead them in a wrong direction. It is indeed a trick to increase business but by putting the future of children in jeopardy.

What would kids under 13 understand about Instagram? An account on any social media handle brings children closer to mobile, which shouldn’t be allowed at this age. To me, this move is an ill-thought one and is really not required.

MADHAVI KHARBANDA, 39, Senior Data Science Engineer, Gurugram

I would not let my child use this Instagram f o r mat . I t would increase their screen time and can lead to peer pressure in case someone is not using it.Children are exposed to content not meant for them. It seems like a trick by the company to increase its user base as it’s impossible for parents to monitor what their kids are watching, all the time.

KISHORE KUMAR, 52, Founder, Ushakaal.com

There are always two sides of a coin. I can neither dismiss the decision of Instagram nor support it blindly. I see parents share their mobile phones with their two-threeyear- olds who have a chance to play some video game or watch YouTube content.

With this, I have no illusions that Instagram is going to enter the child market, and we will be sitting ducks to see how the story pans out. In today’s time, we cannot imagine staying aloof from technology.

Science has proved that between ages eight and 13 years, there is a rapid decline of the pineal gland; the same gland is considered to be a factor of talent development, and so we should think about channelising their energy into the right direction.

VIDUSHI SAWHNEY, 31, Counsellor, Janakpuri

Though social media will help kids connect with friends, it has had a bad impact as children will be more dependent on likes and comments on their pictures, and what is happening in others’ lives. This can lead to wastage of time, loss of energy, which can be utilised in other areas of work and hobbies. Also, cyber bullying is a major concern.

SUDEEP DAYAL, Life Coach, Gurugram

Raising two kids, I have been in this dilemma for the past few years. It’s like we are seeing a generation gap now every three years. We didn’t have smartphones, no Facebook and Instagram. The only entertainment was friends.

Everything changed since social media. It has helped me reconnect with lost friends, but allowing social media under the age of 13 or giving a smartphone early on will impact their social, physical and emotional growth.

DR PREETI SINGH, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and psychotherapist, Paras Hospitals, Gurugram

Most children are on the borderline online addiction, and it has become a challenge for parents to mana getheir screen time, especially when online access has become the need of the hour. Social media is creating an unreal world, and makes them look for approval for themselves through others.

Parents controlling screen time is a major source of conflict between children and parents. Children are prone to taking extreme steps in rage. Hence, this move of Facebook for Instagram for kids below 13 years needs to be discouraged.


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