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Thursday, October 28, 2021

Facebook is planning Instagram for kids

Children under the age of 13 also want to participate on Instagram – but officially they are not allowed to. The possible solution: an Instagram especially for kids.

Instagram is only officially released from the age of 13. Those who are younger are actually not allowed to participate – but that does not prevent many from doing it anyway. Now the parent company Facebook is apparently exploring the possibilities of a “kids version” of Instagram. The app should be specially adapted to the needs of children and their parents. The model is “Messenger Kids” from Facebook: The child-friendly app has been around since 2017 and has special control functions. For example, parents activate their children’s contacts. Experts were still not enthusiastic about the children’s messenger. (Also Read: Mobile network providers must ensure freedom from devices)

The new Instagram plans initially emerged from an internal letter that BuzzFeed has received . In it, manager Vishal Shah writes that the photo and video platform has identified youth work as a top priority. The plan is to set up an Instagram variant for users under the age of 13. Instagram boss Adam Mosseri has now confirmed via Twitter that a team is exploring the possibilities of a kids variant. After all, children would increasingly ask their parents “whether they can use apps that help them communicate with their friends”.

The project is led by Pavni Diwanji. The Facebook manager was previously also responsible for “YouTube Kids” at Google. There is no “detailed plan” yet, explained Mosseri. The project is currently in an early stage of development. One thing is clear: an “Instagram Kids” would have to master some challenges. How about dealing with bullying or preventing harassment? There will be no perfect protection. With “Messenger Kids”, for example, the children were able to chat with strangers from time to time due to a technical error.

Critics rate children’s versions of apps as problematic because they introduce very young users to the main product. It’s a bit like McDonald’s “Happy Meal”: If you ate McNuggets as a child, you will probably do it as an adult (and add another Big Mac). With “YouTube Kids” you can see how children switch to the “real YouTube”, explains social media researcher Priya Kuma to BuzzFeed. After the launch of “Messenger Kids” , health experts had formulated their concerns in an open letter to Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg . They asked Facebook to take the kids app off the market – in vain.

Just a few days ago, Instagram emphasized in a blog entry that it wanted to protect children better. The platform should become more secure for young users – but for everyone older than 13 years. The platform wants to take the age restriction more seriously and uses artificial intelligence to uncover violations. Young people are also given safety notices and are encouraged to be careful and to set their account to “private”.

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