Earlier this year, Instagram announced its plans for a kids version of the app, meant for users under 13 years old. It was met with plenty of backlash from people who don’t think kids should be encouraged to use Instagram in the first place. And, realistically, nothing’s going to stop middle schoolers from using the regular app and exposing their famous parents’ personal details. Plus, parents are often the ones who turn their kids into tiny cash grabs by running their Instagram, rather than those children uploading content on their own. So now, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced that Instagram is not currently going forward with the idea.
He wrote in a blog post:
We wanted to provide an update on our work to build an Instagram experience for people under the age of 13, often referred to as “Instagram Kids.” 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.
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.
He also added that “Instagram Kids” was “never meant for younger kids, but for tweens (aged 10-12).” He also wrote that the kids app “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.” But we can’t imagine that telling children their interactions will be fully monitored by their parents will go well.
Mosseri did mention a good idea for the regular app, though. One addition the developers are testing out is including a feature “tentatively called” Take A Break, that, as its name suggests, will let users take a break from Instagram. The app will also “encourage people to look at other topics if they’re dwelling on content that might contribute to negative social comparison.”