A New Instagram for Kids is Coming from Facebook
Facebook has recently announced they will be expanding their popular photo-sharing app by launching an Instagram for kids under the age of 13. This new version of the app will encourage kids to create their own safe experience where they can share posts with their friends. We’re looking at the plan for this new app and some of the concerns parents should be aware of before signing their kids up for this new experience.
If you’re looking for more information about the newest social media app for kids, check out our article, TikTok: What All Parents Need to Know About This Social Media App
What is Different About this New Instagram for Kids?
As of now, Instagram doesn’t allow users under the age of 13 in order to protect kids’ privacy. This new Instagram for kids (under 13 years old) will allow kids to communicate with one another while limiting their access. The program is led by Pavni Diwanji who has overseen many children focused projects for Google including YouTube Kids. The exact layout of the kid’s app hasn’t been specified as the program is still in early development.
Instagram has said they need to do more to protect its younger users from some of the dangers that come with social media. In particular, they are looking into ways to prevent the bullying, predation, and abuse that sometimes finds kids on their app. This new version of Instagram will severely limit access to these kinds of environments, and will give parents control or transparency over what’s happening on their child’s account.
What Are Some Concerns Over the App?
While this new version of the app may invite kids to engage with one another, parents should still be wary of the new experience. Despite Instagram’s assurance that the app will be secure, there are still risks with getting young kids involved with this kind of social media. Sometimes when kids get involved with apps like YouTube Kids and other kid versions of apps they transition quickly to the adult versions of the app.
This new Instagram for kids app has not been fully developed or tested, but it might be best to keep as updated as possible while more information comes in. This new Instagram can be a great thing for kids in moderation, but it is easy for them to get consumed by it. Each family should make their own choice when it comes to downloading the app and deciding the parental controls that are appropriate for each individual child.
As recently as May 10, 2021 – Attorney generals from 44 states and territories issued a letter to Mr. Zuckerburg urging Facebook to drop its plan to create Instagram for kids. The letter also stated “One study found that frequently viewing selfies led to “decreased self-esteem” and “decreased life satisfaction,” (ref: Wang, R., et al. Let me take a selfie: Exploring the psychological). The letter also states “Third, Facebook has a record of failing to protect the safety and privacy of children on its platform, despite claims that its products have strict privacy controls. Reports from 2019 showed that Facebook’s Messenger Kids app, intended for kids between the ages of six and 12, contained a significant design flaw that allowed children to circumvent restrictions on online interactions and join group chats with strangers that were not previously approved by the children’s parents.”(ref:5 Russell Brandom, “Facebook design flaw let thousands of kids join chats with unauthorized users,” The Verge (Jul. 22, 2019).
So plan for this topic to be ongoing for some time. In the end, if the app does come to fruition parents will have all the pros and cons to make the decision for their children.