If kids under 13 wanted to use Instagram, they’d have to lie about their age when signing up (which, to be honest, is fairly simple). But not anymore: Facebook is now making Instagram that will be intended particularly for the youngest users. What could possibly go wrong?
BuzzFeed News obtained an internal employee message board post confirming the company’s plan:
“I’m excited to announce that going forward, we have identified youth work as a priority for Instagram and have added it to our H1 priority list. We will be building a new youth pillar within the Community Product Group to focus on two things: (a) accelerating our integrity and privacy work to ensure the safest possible experience for teens and (b) building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.”
Funnily enough, the announcement came only two days after Instagram updated its security measures in an attempt to make the younger audience safer. These measures include restricting DMs between teens and adults they don’t follow, as well as prompts to make young users be more cautious. In the post announcing these changes, Instagram writes:
“We require everyone to be at least 13 to use Instagram and have asked new users to provide their age when they sign up for an account for some time. While many people are honest about their age, we know that young people can lie about their date of birth. We want to do more to stop this from happening, but verifying people’s age online is complex and something many in our industry are grappling with.”
So, instead of making it more difficult for the kids under 13 to lie about their age – Instagram will just make a separate platform for them?
On the one hand, I get it. Most people can’t forbid children to use phones and social media because “everyone else is doing it.” So it’s better to at least have a platform where they will be in touch with kids their own age and hidden away from predators.
But on the other hand, there are so many things that can go wrong here. Even without the adult predators out of the equation, what are we gonna do about cyberbullying? Kids can be really cruel (trust me, I know, I was a fat kid with straight A’s). And they’re even crueler on social media than they are in real life. While Instagram is constantly introducing new anti-bullying tools, they’re far from solving the problem altogether.
Also, remember how I mentioned kids lying about their age on this regular “above 13” Instagram? What stops adults from lying about their age as well and infiltrate among children on the upcoming “under 13” platform? I get the chills just thinking about it.
All in all, I find that there are more cons than pros to making the “Instagram for kids.” But that could be because I’m a bit “old school:” I first made a social media account when I was around 16 (remember MySpace?). Also, I don’t have children so their presence on social media is not something I’m too concerned about. Therefore, I’d like to hear your thoughts. Do you think this is a good idea and why?
[via BuzzFeed News]