According to recent news, Facebook has begun building a version of Instagram for kids, targeted at youth ages 13 and under. The parent company of Instagram is expected to introduce this restricted version of the social media app sometime in the next year. The new version of Instagram is meant to be kid-friendly, allowing Facebook to broaden its reach, appealing across all age groups.
I find this to be quite the controversial move. Instagram and Facebook are both clearly targeted at different age groups, and while boomers seem to be the main audience for Facebook, Instagram is in a way a millennials’ platform. But, the social media app can even be toxic to adults, so how would kids fair in their own version of Instagram? Is there any way to ensure that the mental health effects of social media would be shielded from kids 13 and under?
Reportedly, the social media company has formed a team specialized in building out the kid-friendly version of Instagram. Joe Osborne, a Facebook rep, shared:
“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. 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.”
Seeing as most kids have been engaging with online learning, and thus existing virtually, it may have become harder to create friend groups in real life while the pandemic is still in its full swing. So, maybe, this could be an interesting approach to helping kids socialize during and post pandemic. But we’re not sure it’s a great idea.
The Instagram-for-kids is currently in its beginning stages, and is expected to fall under the U.S.’s Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. This news came out in the same week that Instagram announced new updates targeted at keeping younger members of the community safe.