Most social media apps do not allow kids to join the platform until and unless it’s a kid's specific app. Instagram is no exception to this and as per the current policies, it discourages kids below 13 years from signing up on the app. This, however, is set to change soon.
According to the reports, Instagram is building an app intended for children below 13. This application aims to offer parents better transparency and control thus allowing kids to explore the virtual world under the guidance and supervision of their parents.
This new app in question seems to have been announced internally as per a document accessed by BuzzFeed News. This document has Instagram’s VP Vishal Shah talking about the increased focus on the youth and asserts that the company wants to focus on a couple of things including building a new kid-friendly platform and make it a safe platform for them.
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According to BuzzFeed, ex-Googler, Pavni Diwanji who was responsible for children-focused products, including YouTube Kids and Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, will lead the project. Mosseri has also tweeted recently around the growing need of offering kids a place to make new friends, identify new hobbies and projects.
Kids are increasingly asking their parents if they can join apps that help them keep up with their friends. A version of Instagram where parents have control, like we did w/ Messenger Kids, is something we’re exploring. We’ll share more down the road.March 18, 2021
While Instagram has not confirmed the development officially, Facebook’s spokesperson Joe Osborne has stated that “Increasingly kids are asking their parents if they can join apps that help them keep up with their friends. Right now, there aren’t many options for parents, so we’re working on building additional products — like we did with Messenger Kids — that are suitable for kids, managed by parents. We’re exploring bringing a parent-controlled experience to Instagram to help kids keep up with their friends, discover new hobbies and interests, and more.”
Though Instagram is a home for a lot of interesting discussions and activities that could help kids broaden their horizons, however, social media platforms are not considered to be safe for kids. With the post-Covid-19 environment, kids are already enjoying excessive screen-time, parents would fear that such apps will only increase the time spent online. Further, with Facebook at the helm, there is always a fear of user data being used for advertisements down the line.
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Jitendra has been working in the Internet Industry for the last 7 years now and has written about a wide range of topics including gadgets, smartphones, reviews, games, software, apps, deep tech, AI, and consumer electronics.