Incentivizing Users' Mental Health on Instagram

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Incentivizing Users' Mental Health on Instagram

Mar 10, 2023

If I were in charge of Instagram for one week, there are definitely some changes that I would make to protect the integrity and ethicality of the site, preserve mental health, and make the app more promoting healthy communication via social media. The first thing I would do is try to identify and value the existing problems that lie within the app so we can prioritize what needs to be changed and have a strategized game plan on how we are going to do it. The first issue that I would attack would be the integrity of the site itself and how it lies morally with human use, ethically, and legally within the bounds of the United States considering it is a U.S.-based app.

The main problem that I identify with the integrity of the app is how it is available to all ages. I think that children that are too young should not be able to use the app to the full capacity of others. While this decision would receive some flack, I think it is of utmost importance to preserve the health of our children, and that there would be integrity exuded if Instagram were bold enough to make a decision like that. It would limit the amount of time that they could use the app, and the types of followers that they can view that can view them, along with a content filter that cannot be changed. The age of users would also be more closely verified.

Morally, I would not regulate the content being dispersed, but rather create a system that incentivized users to post healthy and wholesome content. And if not designate protected spaces in which others can post other things that are well protected and require age verification to enter, ideally enforced by law. I would also try to find a system on how we could allow users to regulate themselves employing almost “hall monitors” to keep the site in the best moral condition that it can be in.

The only ethical changes that I would make would regard the conditions of the workers that work for Instagram. I would conduct a worker's audit to try and evaluate the care and treatment that the workers are under. I would do this in order to verify that the workers are in the best physical and mental condition that they can be in, in order to produce the healthiest and best working product.

These provisions all together I think would work together in a beautiful way that would ideally preserve and maintain the mental health of the users in the best way possible. Too many people use the site and the effect it has mentally on the users has a big impact on the way that we think and act as a society. While it might infringe on their mission or legal parameters that they follow, I find the best way to create the best product is to have a healthy relationship and condition of clientele. I want to use the site as what it was initially intended for, which is to make people's lives easier and make people feel more connected. Not to further complicate the lives of our users by filling their heads with nonsense and creating a plethora of unprecedented problems with virtually no solution.

Kobe Valdez, a student in Jon Pfeiffer’s media law class at Pepperdine University, wrote the above essay in response to the following question: "If you were in charge of Instagram for one week, what changes would you make to the platform?" Kobe is an advertising major.

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