Instagram is building a version of its app for preteens


Posts: 7,081   +62
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TL;DR: Instagram is developing a version of the social network for children under the age of 13. It's hoped the move will help stop the common practice of young kids signing up for accounts on the main app by lying about their age.

BuzzFeed News reports that owner Facebook announced its plans for a preteens-only version of Instagram in an internal mail, allowing the age group to use the photo- and video-sharing app "safely" for the first time.

As with Facebook, Instagram doesn't allow people under 13 to sign up for accounts, though plenty of young children ignore this policy. The company recently said it is developing new "artificial intelligence and machine learning technology" to detect someone's age when they create an account, but it never revealed details of how this will work.

A Facebook spokesperson told The Guardian that a kids-only version of Instagram would operate in a similar way as the Messenger Kids app designed for those between 6 and 12, with parents controlling their children's accounts.

"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 […]that are suitable for kids, managed by parents," the spokesperson said.

"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."

Earlier this week, Instagram announced new policies designed to protect its youngest users. These changes include banning adults from sending direct messages to teenagers that do not follow them. Additionally, teens will see prompts warning them to be cautious when they are in conversations with older users that they do follow who have been "exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior." Adults will also find it more difficult to find and follow teens using the app's search function.

Any product designed specifically for children is likely to bring controversy, as we've seen with YouTube Kids. In 2018, over 100 child health advocates, medical experts, and civil society groups urged Facebook to discontinue its Messenger Kids app, arguing that young users are "are not old enough to navigate the complexities of online relationships."

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Posts: 11   +26
This is horrible. Kids even up to 18 should not be on social media. This is one of a bunch of reasons why there is so much anxiety and depression in kids. Don't let your kids on this stuff.

We see it affecting adults as well. It's bad even as you get older.


Posts: 442   +705
Hardest part right now with my kids is the fact that they are doing "distance learning" (which is a crock of ****, if you ask me) and have constant access to their iPads. They're always screwing around on youtube or using messenger with their friends or emailing with friends and doing almost everything, but school work.

At home, none of those devices have access to the internet. My almost 13 year old daughter is upset she doesn't have a cell phone yet. I tell her I'm not interested in getting her one with how kids are these days and what they use them for.

My niece, when she was 16 (just a few years ago), started sexting . The boys she sent the images to, they sent images to her as well. Pretty soon the images are starting to circulate around.....a few parents got wind of it and found images on their kids phone, they actually reported the kid that sent the underage nude teen photos to their kid, to the police for distributing child pornography. Cops got involved, lots of kids got their phones confiscated and the DA had to decide if any charges were to be handed out.

I don't think kids understand nor grasp the concept that once something is out there, it is out there forever. No program that can recall or delete texts/messages/emails/images can save these kids from that reality that they just don't understand. You send out that text/image to someone, they simply need to take a screen shot, so it doesn't matter if the app can automatically delete the text/image.


Posts: 399   +204
I remember Steam and 99% of social messengers etc saying, agree you are 13+. And I always thought that was just some random law that came about to protect themselves the devs of such apps, and those under the age of.
I never understood why anyone would make such an app for younger people when like others say there are children and adults that should not be on it. My cousins daughter was on some site apparently chatting away and turned out it was some older guy.
But I also believe if you think the internet was invented with Joe Public in mind, you are a secondary concern.
I think that goes in any aspect of our lives though. The govt will not make laws, or spend any money on your safety until someone has died. It's just the way it works.


Posts: 474   +366
I hate most social media - however some of the comments above - are the same reason why prisons in English speaking countries are full - You can't do this , you can't do that - you must be punished etc.
My wife wanted to put some net nanny crap put on our PCs - She didn't not believe that it does not work and is ultimately counter productive .
Does it seem strange in those permissive countries - teenage pregnancies are lower - kids don't have as much warped sense of what sex is ?

What was the comment in the UK - what chance does a porn filter have against a horny teen.

Yes my 11 year old son does not have a phone ( but if he bussed to school across town or some such he might )
Teach your kids to think and make some good decisions . Just remember being a teen means you can stuff up once and awhile

Avro Arrow

Posts: 1,727   +2,041
TechSpot Elite
Kids are extremely tech-savvy these days. Are their parents really so clueless as to think that they're not going to find a way around this? I remember when Second Life tried that with "Second Life Teen" and it lasted all of a year.

This is nothing more than a token gesture by Instagram so that they can't be accused of not caring (even though I'm certain that they don't really).