Instagram, Children, and the Rest of Us

CNN reports that 33 states have accused Meta of only disabling a “fraction” of the accounts reported with millions of reports from parents, friends, and online community members. There is no questioning the fact that social media is having a negative impact on children, particularly young girls. One Meta product designer wrote in an internal email that, “young ones are the best ones.”

CNN further writes Meta did a 2021 study that concluded Instagram’s algorithm may be amplifying negative social comparison and “content with a tendency to cause users to feel worse about their body or appearance.” Of course! When you combine that with yet-to-be-fully-developed 13-year-old brains, the conclusion is inevitable.

We are beyond the point of speculation that social media is harming children. At this point, we need to get serious about putting up some guardrails. Moreover, I’d argue that humans don’t magically get superpowers to avoid these negative consequences once they reach the age of 13, 16, 21, or even 64. We should all be aware of how these things can pull us into negative spirals and be on the lookout.