Instagram shares that addressing red flags raised by parents of pre-teen users (under the age of 13), the platform is pausing Instagram Kids until the issues are resolved.
Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram announced the pause on Instagram Kids. The social media platform has decided to take a step back and re-evaluate the consequences, seek safety experts’ advice, and build a general consensus with the parents of pre-teen users before rolling it out.
Initially, Instagram forbade users under the age of 13 years on its platform. Ad-free, parental controls, and age-appropriate content being some of its features, Instagram Kids was launched earlier this year. However, amid parents’ and safety experts’ criticism, the platform has chosen to pause work upon its tween version.
The announcement of the kids’ version of Instagram was not well-received by child safety groups, parents, or critics. An international coalition of 35 organizations and 64 individual experts, coordinated by the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, a Boston-based nonprofit organization, urged Facebook executive Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday to cancel plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under 13 as it would put the young users at great risk. The group raised concerns regarding privacy, mental health, screen time, self-esteem, and commercial pressure in a letter directed to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg.
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Though the coalition agreed that the current version of Instagram is not safe for young children, many children have even lied about their ages to create Instagram accounts. “However, launching a version of Instagram for children under 13 is not the right remedy and would put young users at great risk,” the letter by the coalition said.
The recent research by WSJ that states Facebook knows that Instagram is toxic for teen girls; the company documents scrutinized by the publisher, sparked further debate on the issue. “Its own in-depth research shows a significant teen mental-health issue that Facebook plays down in public” the report states.
Along with the blog post announcing the pause on Instagram Kids, Adam Mosseri also took to his Twitter account and shared a video. The video encapsulates concerns and cautionary measures Instagram is considering to work upon while they pause Instagram Kids’ functionality. He said, “The idea behind Instagram Kids was to create a version of Instagram that is safe for tweens”. Instagram Kids will be back but after making some changes and corrections.