Instagram for kids: How can parents protect them?


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- From local school districts to national pipelines, cybersecurity is now becoming a central issue for the Biden administration as cyber attacks seem to be on the rise.

These attacks also come on the heels of Facebook’s announcement to build an Instagram for kids. But some parents are wondering, would this new program be safe?

“I think this is just inevitable. if Facebook doesn’t do it, Instagram doesn’t do it , somebody else will do it,” Sanjay Goel, Director for Cyber Security Programs at the University of Albany. “You cannot block a technology forever. Once it’s out there people are going to access it.”

On Monday, 45 attorneys general sent Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a letter urging Facebook’s tp consider to roll out of their new app in progress–Instagram for kids—that targets children 13 and under.

In a statement to News10, AG Letitia James said it’s a “dangerous idea” and “could place children directly in the paths of predators.”

According to The U.S. Department of Justice, 1 of every 7 children will receive a sexual solicitation on the internet.

“Kids are being really catfishes for money or nude photos, we’ve heard some pretty tough stories across New York State,” Stacey Angell, a counselor for North Colonie School District said.

The district’s counselors have been making presentations and creating a dialogue with students about social media safety.

“They can have social media, they can have phones, they can have all of that, but it comes with guidelines and it comes with rules and parent need to understand what’s out there,” Angell said.

The other suggestion is preventative: Make sure you have your child’s privacy settings established on all platforms and keep their followers mainly to their peers.

“But with that, people can still evade all of these controls. So, the important thing is keep an eye on what they’re doing, it needs constant monitoring,” Goel said.

Additionally, Goel suggested putting your child’s computer in a public space in your home and checking their phones and social media accounts once a day.

You can read Sanjay Goel’s cybersecurity tips for teens and their parents here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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