Kids will be bul­lied if not on app: In­sta­gram

Balonne Beacon - - FAMILY LIFE - — Annabel Hen­nessy

IN­STA­GRAM is guilt-trip­ping par­ents into let­ting chil­dren younger than 13 have their own ac­counts by claim­ing they will be bul­lied if they are not on the app.

The so­cial me­dia gi­ant also ar­gues that hav­ing a pub­lic ac­count is “part of the fun”.

It has come un­der fire from cy­ber safety ex­perts over its “par­ents’ guide to In­sta­gram”, which claims that kids who don’t have In­sta­gram can “risk so­cial marginal­i­sa­tion”.

The guide says kids can “learn to man­age” risks such as cy­ber­bul­ly­ing or hav­ing preda­tors reach out to them.

The guide, to in­form par­ents about how to use the app safely, also says while In­sta­gram has a min­i­mum age of 13, it “doesn’t ask users to spec­ify their age, and there are many younger chil­dren who use” it.

“Whether In­sta­gram is ‘safe’ de­pends more on how it’s used than on the age of the user,” the guide states. “Even if a par­ent bans all so­cial me­dia, his or her child’s photo and other in­for­ma­tion can be posted by friends via their ac­counts.

“And there’s a risk of so­cial marginal­i­sa­tion for kids who are not al­lowed to so­cialise in this way that’s now so em­bed­ded in their so­cial lives.”

Best En­e­mies di­rec­tor Ross Bark, who runs cy­ber safety cour­ses in schools, said it was “ridicu­lous” to sug­gest chil­dren were go­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence “so­cial marginal­i­sa­tion” purely for not be­ing on the app.

He said any­one un­der 18 on the app should have a pri­vate ac­count and chil­dren un­der 13 “should def­i­nitely not” be on In­sta­gram.

“So­cial marginal­i­sa­tion sounds like a term that has come out of a mar­ket­ing man­ager’s mouth … it sounds like a young per­son will be on the fringes of so­ci­ety if they are not on In­sta­gram, which is a silly sug­ges­tion,” Mr Bark said.

PHOTO: IS­TOCK

PARENTAL PRES­SURE: In­sta­gram is guilt-trip­ping par­ents into al­low­ing chil­dren un­der 13 to have their own ac­counts.

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