The ethical considerations of a children's Instagram

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The vice president of Instagram recently announced the company's desire to develop a version of the platform so that children under 13 can use it safely.

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The vice president of Instagram recently announced the company's desire to develop a version of Instagram so that people under the age of 13 can in turn use the popular platform safely.

Shielding

As soon as this project was announced, many specialists raised their shield and expressed serious reservations about the intentions behind this new approach:

“First, it's going to encourage kids to stay in front of a screen longer and not do anything else during that time. Then, it is potentially dangerous. If young people can lie about their age, so can older people. "

Jeffrey L. Derevensky, Director of the International Center for the Study of Gambling and Risk Behaviors in Young People (via La Presse)

Assistant professor of computational psychiatry at the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Montreal, Guillaume Dumas also finds the idea "extremely delicate, especially if this initiative comes from companies whose main source of income is advertising".

Source: La Presse, April 26, 2021

In addition, the researcher pointed out that children's brains are not fully developed and that in the long term we still know little about the impact of using social media. Guillaume Dumas is also concerned about the addiction caused by social networks, which use algorithmic amplification to keep users connected for as long as possible.

A need for the development of the child

For his part, Yves Collard, trainer in media education at Media Animation, is of the opinion that this kind of initiative intended for the youngest should not be feared:

“According to him, in 2021, social networks participate in an inherent need for children's development, that of telling their stories and confronting others. These platforms then become the place of an inter-self which makes it possible to build oneself within a group which shares the same experiences as us. Today, a whole series of activities have been transferred to the screens, he observes. Social networks have become a full-fledged place of socialization in our lives. Who hasn't had a conversation with someone they've never met in real life through a screen? "

RTBF, May 2, 2021

Why a children's Instagram?

After 10 years of existence, Instagram brings together nearly a billion active users each month and offers 100 million new content every day. Aside from these amazing numbers, Instagram fears the TikTok (most downloaded application in 2018,2019,2020) and Snapchat of this world, widely adopted by the youngest. The “Instagram Kids” strategy can then be part of a process to retain children 13 and under and hope for continuity thereafter. A bit like Messenger Kids and YouTube Kids are already doing ...

Another objective, less marketing this time, is to guarantee a safe space for children, free from cyberstalking and child crime. The “kids” version of Instagram could give parents permanent access to supervise children, while letting them use the devices so beloved of this kind of social network such as filters, “likes”, the "stories", etc.

The challenge

What do students think of this Instagram project for children under 13? Do they use this platform? If so, for what main reasons? If they had to give your advice to a friend from elementary school who wants to start using Instagram, what would they mention? To properly image and synthesize your comments, they can create an infographic on Can go, for example, where we could find a short list of your good practices in the use of Instagram.


 

SUGGESTED ACTIVITIES

Ethics and Religious Culture (lower secondary)

  • Freedom
  • Autonomy

-French (2nd cycle of secondary)

  • Read and enjoy a variety of texts
    • Put current texts into perspective
      using other written or oral texts.
    • Make a critical judgment: take
      step back from the text by relying
      on cultural and media landmarks
      that confirm the credibility or
      admissible from a source or information.
  • Organization of the text
    • Recognize and use the elements that
      make it possible to link, in whole or in part,
      the written or spoken text to the current domain.

Targeted dimensions of digital competence

  • Producing content with digital
  • Developing and mobilizing information literacy
  • Harnessing the potential of digital technology for learning
  • Developing critical thinking with regard to the use of digital technology

Suggested digital tools

  • Canva (to create an infographic)
  • Mentimeter (to question students)
  • Kami or iLovePDF (to edit a PDF)

Educational intention of the guide

The following activities will allow students to sharpen their critical judgment regarding the various publications (advertisements, among others) found on Instagram.

Objectives of the activities

  • Discuss and give their opinion on the rules and good practices to follow when publishing sponsored content on Instagram.
  • Create a publication containing sponsored content while respecting good advertising practices.
  • Recognize hidden advertising on social networks

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SCOOP! this is...
 

Designed to fill short periods or inspire larger projects, the activities offered in the SCOOP! allow the teacher to approach the subject matter in the program in addition to developing the information literacy and digital skills of the students.

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