Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram announces the pause of the “Instagram Kids” project and shifting the focus on building parental supervision tools on September 27, 2021. “Instagram Kids” was a project meant for tweens i.e, under the age of 13 to resolve the issue of them getting access to the app and its content which are not suitable for them at such a young age.
As stated by Mosseri on Instagram Blog and Facebook Newsroom, “We started this project to address an important problem seen across our industry: kids are getting phones younger and younger, misrepresenting their age, and downloading apps that are meant for those 13 or older.”
But seeing parents’ rising concern regarding it, Instagram decided to keep the project on a halt for the time being, even though they felt that “Instagram Kids” was the correct and necessary thing to do. Here’s what Adam asserted on Instagram Blog and Facebook Newsroom, “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.”
Until it’s resumed, the Instagram team is going to continue creating opt-in parental supervision tools for teens and “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”, adds Mosseri on Instagram Blog and Facebook Newsroom.
Now, it’s time to shed more light on why developing “Instagram Kids” is important and the upcoming features that Instagram is working on to make the app a safer-secure place as mentioned by Adam Mosseri on Instagram Blog and Facebook Newsroom.
Kids Are Already Online
As opposed are criticisers towards “Instagram Kids”, it’s crucial to develop this idea for the well-being of the tweens. In reality, kids are already online. Thus, it’s important to provide them with age-appropriate experiences which are designed specifically for them. This is a far better option for parents than where we are today. Apart from Instagram, YouTube and Tiktok have already taken steps towards this direction realising the issues. These social media platforms have built their own versions with built-in features for under 13 kids.
“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.”
Building Parental Supervision Tools
As mentioned earlier, building parental supervision tools was already an integral part of the whole “Instagram Kids” plan. Even though the project is paused, Instagram will continue working on allowing “parents to oversee their children’s accounts by expanding these tools to teen accounts (aged 13 and over) on Instagram. These new features, which parents and teens can opt into, will give parents the tools to meaningfully shape their teen’s experience.”
Focusing On Teen Safety
Clarifying WSJ’s report about Instagram’s teen experiences, Pratiti Raychoudhury, Vice-President, Head of Research had already put forward their straightforward answers here. Supporting the same, Adam explains, “We do research like this so we can make Instagram better. That means our insights often shed light on problems, but they inspire new ideas and changes to Instagram. Examples include our industry-leading anti-bullying work such as Restrict, Hidden Words, and Limits, and our recent changes to make Instagram accounts private by default for those under 16.”
Pointing out Instagram’s negative body image issue, Mosseri further stated, “We announced last week that we’re exploring two new ideas: encouraging people to look at other topics if they’re dwelling on content that might contribute to negative social comparison, and a feature tentatively called “Take a Break,” where people could put their account on pause and take a moment to consider whether the time they’re spending is meaningful.”
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