Religious Leaders Fight Against Instagram for Kids
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Meta, a parent company for Facebook and Instagram, is facing an adversary from the side of a coalition of 75 religious leaders in order to ban the creation of Instagram for kids.
On Tuesdays, the coalition sent Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Meta, a signed letter asking him to cease the plans to launch a social media platform for children under 13.
Previously, Meta announced it would hold the progress of creating the platform after Frances Haugen revealed internal documents which caused further scrutiny on Instagram’s impact on underage users. Even though lawmakers pushed for completely dropping the plans, the company did not do so.
As part of a campaign by Fairplay and Children’s Screen Time Action Network, the letter appealed to Meta to show the faith leaders’ concern on how Instagram can be dangerous for spiritual values in children. Pointing on the necessity of dedication to yoga, sabbath, silence, prays, and meditation, the signers of the letter note that “countless faith communities emphasize the importance of time spent without distraction” while social media “with its intentionally addictive algorithms, incessant communication systems, and mass commodification of attention — explicitly counteracts these values.”
The letter appeals to the importance of self-reflection for children, which requires time and silence, while platforms like Instagram may become an obstacle for this. Social media, according to the signatories, also “undermines the sort of unitive consciousness and empathetic understanding that spiritual paths promote.” The spiritual leaders insist that apps like Instagram shape a harmful mentality in kids which makes them think of the world as an “us vs. them” place and make them constantly compare themselves to the images promoted by the platform. “This artificial stage keeps us at the level of our false self, inflaming ego, nafs, or stoking envy,” they wrote.
According to the religious leaders, the religions want to preserve freedom of the precious childhood years, their innocence, and holiness, while social media “largely undermine” these aspirations
A Meta’s response has not been given yet.