INSTAGRAM is guilt-tripping parents into letting children younger than 13 have their own accounts by claiming they will be bullied if they are not on the app.
The social media giant also argues that having a public account is “part of the fun”.
It has come under fire from cyber safety experts over its “parents’ guide to Instagram” which claims that kids who don’t have Instagram can “risk social marginalisation”.
Ross Bark and brother Darren from Best Enemies.
Best Enemies director Ross Bark, who runs cyber-safety courses in schools, said it was “ridiculous” to suggest children were going to experience “social marginalisation” purely for not being on the app.
He said that anyone under 18 on the app should have a private account and children under 13 “should definitely not” be on Instagram.
“Social marginalisation sounds like a term that has come out of a marketing manager’s mouth … it sounds like a young person will be on the fringes of society if they are not on Instagram which is a silly suggestion,” Mr Bark said.
POPULAR video games such as Fortnite and Minecraft are being used to harvest children’s personal data by web fiends who flog it to anyone willing to stump up the cash.
Cyber-safety expert Ross Bark said crooks could use a child’s username and password for a gaming site like Fortnite to extract more information including phone numbers, credit card details, dates of birth and home addresses.
“Websites like Fortnite ask users to hand over a lot of personal information, which is very valuable to criminals,” Mr Bark said. “The account details would usually be purchased in bulk by the hundreds.”
CYBER-BULLIES would be banned from social media and slapped with an online version of an apprehended violence order as part of a radical plan to stop trolls.
Anti-bullying charities are using a powerful parliamentary inquiry to call for a criminalisation of trolling — including giving child cyber-bullies a social media order (SMO) that would ban them from contacting their victims and using sites such as Facebook and Instagram.
It comes after 14-year-old Amy “Dolly” Everett took her own life on January 3 after being targeted by bullies online.
Cyber-safety expert Ross Bark, who runs education courses across NSW through his company Best Enemies, agreed the creation of an “SMO” would be helpful.
“It would be useful to be able to ban offenders from Facebook, Instagram and social media but it would need to be coupled with education so they can actually learn the very real effect they are having on their victims,” Mr Bark said.
The summer holidays are peak internet season for families – but parents have been warned about a trend of violent, graphic cartoons specifically designed to target children.
The cartoons feature beloved children’s characters such as Peppa Pig, Spider-Man and Elsa from Frozen, but feature gruesome acts including murder, cannibalism and pornography.
“Your child could be viewing the Peppa Pig video which could be a proper video, and in one second they could be watching something completely inappropriate, which they think is the same thing,” Cyber Expert Ross Bark told A Current Affair.
About two weeks ago, Sarah (not her real name) was carrying out a random check of her 12-year-old daughter’s iPad — as she does regularly with all the devices her kids use — when she stopped in horror.
In about five separate conversations, men, claiming to be 23 and 25 years old, had been seeking information from her 12-year-old daughter, asking where she lived and how they could meet her. Then there were the pictures. Vulgar images and videos sent through the app.
Cyber safety expert Ross Bark was shocked, but not surprised to hear of what had happened to the 12-year-old girl. “What I’ve seen is a lot of young people are getting on there to talk to their friends, but they get messages from random people, and they don’t really know what to do, and they’re not confident telling an adult about it,” he said.