Instagram announced that it is pausing its planned version of the social media platform geared towards children under the age of 13 called “Instagram Kids.”
The company began the project to address a widespread issue in which children are receiving phones at a younger age and misrepresenting their age when downloading apps intended for people aged 13 and over.
Instagram felt that giving parents the choice to offer their children access to a version of Instagram that is tailored to their needs is a better alternative for them.
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram said in a series of tweets that “We’re pausing ‘Instagram Kids,’ although we believe building it is the right thing to do. This experience was never meant for kids. We were designing an experience for tweens (10-12yo), and it was never going to be the same as Instagram today. Parents approve tween accounts and have oversight over who they follow, who follows them, who messages them, time spent, etc.
But the project leaked way before we knew what it would be. People feared the worst, and we had few answers at that stage. Recent WSJ reporting caused even greater concern. It’s clear we need to take more time on this,” he said.
The company has now chosen to put the project on hold in order to engage parents, experts, legislators, and regulators to address their concerns and show the project’s value and relevance for today’s younger teenagers online.
Kids are already online, according to the company, and providing an age-appropriate experience tailored to them is far better for parents today. “We aren’t the only ones who believe this. YouTube and TikTok have versions of their app for those under 13,” they said.
Adam added that the company has spent a lot of time on bullying, social comparison, and age-appropriate features like default private accounts for under 18s but will do more by building new features like “Nudges” and “Take a Break” in the coming months.