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April 20, 2021 (Children’s Health Defense) — An international coalition of 35 consumer advocacy groups and 64 experts in child development last week called on Facebook to ditch plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13.
In a press release, the coalition, led by Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said research demonstrates “Instagram, in particular, exploits young people’s fear of missing out and desire for peer approval.”
Instagram requires users to be 13 years or older to create an account, but in March, Buzzfeed reported on the social media giant’s plan to build a version of the platform for people under the age of 13 years to allow them to “safely” use Instagram for the first time. Facebook told the Guardian the company was exploring a “parent-controlled version” of Instagram, similar to the Messenger Kids app that is for kids between six and 12.
“The platform’s relentless focus on appearance, self-presentation and branding presents challenges to adolescents’ privacy and well-being … Younger children are even less developmentally equipped to deal with these challenges, as they are learning to navigate social interactions, friendships and their inner sense of strengths during this crucial window of development.”
The authors of the letter said Facebook’s “long track record of exploiting young people and putting them at risk makes the company particularly unsuitable as the custodian of a photo-sharing and social-messaging site for children.”
The groups pointed to news reports about leaked documents showing how Facebook boasted to advertisers that it could target teens at the exact moment they were feeling bad about themselves, including when they have negative thoughts about their bodies.
The letter cited more than 20 studies on the negative impact of social media on children, which include:
Excessive screen media use and social media use is linked to a number of risks for children and adolescents, including obesity, lower psychological wellbeing,decreased happiness, decreased quality of sleep, increased risk of depression, and increases in suicide-related outcomes such as suicidal ideation, plans and attempts.
Adolescent girls report feeling pressure to post sexualized selfies as a means of generating attention and social acceptance from their peers.
The Royal Society for Public Health rated Instagram as the worst social media platform for youth mental health.
Police reports in the UK documented more cases of sexual grooming on Instagram than any other platform.
According to the letter, research published in 2020 showed “vast amounts of data” from apps played by kids were sent to the Facebook Graph database, yet “no effort has been made by your company to address the problem of the children’s data that you possess or process for marketing purposes.”
The so-called 'Equality Act' contains deadly poison for Christian democracy in the United States. And, its harmless-sounding name tries to hide this insidious reality.
But, unfortunately, Pelosi and company have JUST PASSED this morally repugnant bill in the US House of Representatives.
Pro-life and pro-family organizations, as well as Christian churches and the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, and freedom-loving groups everywhere, are now sounding the alarm.
Wake up, America, this is RED ALERT time!
This petition, therefore, calls on every US Senator to vigorously oppose and reject this bill.
Yes, it's THAT important.
The bill has nothing to do with "equality," or with extending the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which is how it is being touted by the leftists in the mainstream media.
It is, rather, one of the MOST EXTREME anti-life, pro-LGBT indoctrination bills ever proposed.
It has been described as a short-list of the worst possible elements of the Radical Left's agenda in Congress...and, REMEMBER, it has just passed the House!
We need to tell all US Senators, in no uncertain terms, that WE WILL NOT ACCEPT this outrageous attack on our freedoms and on life, itself!
SIGN AND SHARE THIS URGENT PETITION, TODAY!
And, after you have signed this petition, please CLICK HERE to DIRECTLY CONTACT YOUR U.S. SENATORS, and tell them to oppose this assault on our freedoms of thought, speech, conscience and religion.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Below are some of the devastating critiques of 'Equality Act,' leveled by some of the best conservative, Christian minds in the country.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council (FRC), has written that the 'Equality Act' will include, "the largest expansion of taxpayer-funded abortion this country has ever seen.”
"Under this big new umbrella of 'discrimination,'" continued Perkins, "any American who doesn’t want to fund, offer, perform, or participate in abortion on demand will have no real choice. They can conform — or they can be punished."
"Every wall that’s been built between abortion and the government would come crashing down, including the Hyde Amendment, the pro-conscience Weldon Amendment, and several international barriers that keep our country from exporting abortion."
ON CHRISTIANITY, RELIGIOUS FREEDOM and LGBT INDOCTRINATION:
Lloyd Marcus, of the American Thinker publication, has written about the 'Equality Act' in the following terms:
"LGBTQ enforcer and homosexual Democrat congressman David Cicilline is sponsor of the Equality Act. Cicilline's evil bill is the most aggressive assault on our constitutional religious liberties in U.S. history...If the Equality Act becomes the law of the land, every outrageous, tyrannical demand [of LGBTQ activists/enforcers] will become reality."
And, Liberty Counsel Action, a law and policy education, training and advocacy organization which, among other things, advances religious freedom, the sanctity of human life, and the family has extensively criticized the 'Equality Act'.
On their webpage, dedicated to analyzing the 'Equality Act', which you can access below, Liberty Counsel Action state: "The 'Equality' Act' elevates 'sexual orientation and gender identity' to the same protected category as race. It will violate the religious freedom of Americans in numerous ways."
The go on to list the areas of life which this will affect: "It will impact all employers, including religious and non-profit organizations; contractors; houses of worship; public, private, and religious schools; curriculum; bathrooms; sports; daycare providers; shelters; hospitals; places of gatherings; entertainment providers; counselors; foster care and adoption; biological parents; landlords; anywhere providing a “good, service, or program,” including those advertised online; transportation drivers; and all local, state, and federal entities and many other areas."
And, as they note: "[T]here is NO RELIGIOUS EXEMPTION to this bill!"
Taking into account all of these potential threats to Christian democracy, Life and religious freedom, it is easy to see how the so-called 'Equality Act' has been called a "poison pill."
It is imperative that the US Senate vigorously reject this bill, AND EXPOSE IT FOR WHAT IT REALLY IS.
Please SIGN this urgent petition, TODAY!
The following links will take you to more information about the 'Equality Act'
The House version of the so-called 'Equality Act' (HR 5): http://lc.org/PDFs/Attachments2PRsLAs/2019/031819EqualityActHR5.pdf
Liberty Counsel Action's full analysis of the so-called 'Equality Act': https://www.lcaction.org/HR5 and https://lc.org/newsroom/details/022421-equality-act-guts-religious-freedom-1
LifeSiteNews opinion and analysis of the so-called 'Equality Act':
The letter also noted that in 2019, a design flaw in Facebook’s Messenger Kids allowed young children to circumvent parental controls and chat with strangers.
Signatories of the letter include: Center for Humane Technology, Common Sense, 5Rights Foundation, Center for Digital Democracy, ParentsTogether Action, Global Action Plan UK and the creators of “The Social Dilemma,” a documentary about the hidden agendas of social media and search platforms.
As The Defender reported in January, Instagram recently launched a “Shop” tab that experts say exists solely for the purpose of surveillance capitalism. Nazanin Andalibi, Ph.D., with the Center for Social Media Responsibility and Center for Ethics, Society and Computing, wrote:
“As a researcher who studies social media, people and society, I’m concerned about the effects of surveillance capitalism. This includes social media companies profiting from collecting user data, making algorithmic inferences about people’s preferences and using this information to target people with advertising.”
Instagram’s top competitor in social media — TikTok — already has an app tailored to kids under 13. According to TechCrunch, TikTok was forced to “age-gate its app” as a result of its settlement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC had investigated Musical.ly (the app that became TikTok) for violations of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA). TechCrunch reported:
“Facebook, too, could be in a similar situation where it has to age-gate Instagram in order to properly direct its existing underage users to a COPPA-compliant experience. At the very least, Facebook has grounds to argue that it shouldn’t have to boot the under-13 crowd off its app, since TikTok did not. And the FTC’s fines, even when historic, barely make a dent in tech giants’ revenues.”
In December, the FTC issued a joint statement in support of an investigation of social media’s impact on children. The statement said in part:
“The FTC wants to understand how business models influence what Americans hear and see, with whom they talk, and what information they share. The questions push to uncover how children and families are targeted and categorized.”
© April 19, 2021 Children’s Health Defense, Inc. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of Children’s Health Defense, Inc. Want to learn more from Children’s Health Defense? Sign up for free news and updates from Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and the Children’s Health Defense. Your donation will help to support us in our efforts.