Illinois Attorney General urges Facebook to scrap plans for kids' Instagram

Facebook says it is developing plans for a version of Instagram for kids under 13, designed to give parents more control over content the company says kids are already accessing.

That does not have everyone convinced it is a good idea.

"When they're thinking about making a 13 and younger channel, that's just going to be a playground for predators," said child cyber security expert Rich Wistocki, who says doing a "kid" version of Instagram will only give parents a false sense of security.

"Predators go where the kids are," Wistocki said. "If predators know that kids are in a 13 and younger site, they're going to find a way to get in. That's why this is a bad idea."


In a statement released Monday, Facebook said the app would make "every effort to protect young users, including by not showing advertising on the platform."

The company went on to say, "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."

A letter signed by 44 state attorneys general, including Illinois' Kwame Raoul, opposes the move, reading in part, "The attorneys general urge Facebook to abandon these plans. Use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account. Further, Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms."

Wistocki says regardless of whether Facebook moves forward with Instagram for children, parents should sign up for monitoring software and never allow their children to use online devices behind closed doors.