‘Instagram Kids’ is put on pause so that parents’ views can be heard

Image by Webster2703 from Pixabay

Popular social media platform Instagram says it has paused work on the planned ‘Instagram Kids’ app so it can have more time to listen to the concerns of parents and experts.

The idea was for Instagram Kids to be an app for so-called ‘tweens’ aged 10 to 12 who although they have a mobile phone cannot access Instagram without being dishonest about their real age. The Facebook-owned app had developed a version which had no advertisements or ad tracking, and had age-appropriate content only. But Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, said that the work was being put on hold while the company expanded its consultation with experts.

In a statement, he said: “We firmly believe that it’s better for parents to have the option to give their children access to a version of Instagram that is designed for them — where parents can supervise and control their experience — than relying on an app’s ability to verify the age of kids who are too young to have an ID.

“While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we’ve decided to pause this project. This will give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today.”

Mosseri rejected any suggestion by critics that Instagram’s move was an ‘acknowledgement that the project is a bad idea’. “That’s not the case. ” he said. ‘The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today. We’re not the only company to think so. Our peers recognised these issues and built experiences for kids. YouTube and TikTok have versions of their app for those under 13.

“Our intention is not for this version to be the same as Instagram today. It was never meant for younger kids, but for tweens (aged 10-12). It will require parental permission to join, it won’t have ads, and it will have age-appropriate content and features. Parents can supervise the time their children spend on the app and oversee who can message them, who can follow them and who they can follow. The list goes on.

“I have three children and their safety is the most important thing in my life. I hear the concerns with this project, and we’re announcing these steps today so we can get it right.”

Author: Simon Weedy

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