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Instagram For Kids Paused After Significant International Backlash

Instagram Kids, a “Instagram experience” for children under the age of 13, has been put on hold.

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said that Facebook will utilize the opportunity to listen to “parents, professionals, lawmakers, and regulators.”

It comes after the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) published secret internal data claiming that Instagram was “toxic for young girls.”

However, Facebook’s chief of research, Pratiti Raychoudhury, termed this claim “simply not correct” in a recent blog post.

Users must be at least 13 years old to establish an account on Instagram, yet many youngsters under the age of 13 use the network regardless.

Instagram Youngsters, the firm previously told BBC News, will be a “realistic answer to the ongoing industry problem of kids lying about their age to access applications” and would allow kids to interact with family and friends in a “age appropriate fashion.”

However, in April, the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, which was joined by 99 organizations and people, stated that the “image-obsessed” platform was harmful to children’s health and privacy and demanded that the initiative be abandoned.

A Lack Of Tools For Parents To Protect Their Children

Mr Mosseri stated in a recent blog post that he still thinks it’s preferable to have a version of Instagram for youngsters aged 10 to 12, rather than “relying on an app’s capacity to verify the age of kids who are too young to obtain an ID.”

He stated, “The truth is that youngsters are already online.”

While the project is on hold, Instagram will continue to develop on additional opt-in parental supervision options for current Instagram users aged 13 to 19.

Mr Mosseri stated that there will be additional announcements in the coming months.

While he disagreed with the WSJ’s assessment of the leaked study, he did acknowledge that it had “raised a lot of issues for people.”

In 2020, young females were asked how Instagram made them feel when they felt awful about their bodies:

  • Bad – 32%
  • Good – 22%
  • NA – 46%

However, Facebook stated that the survey:

  • “Only depended on the input of 40 teenagers”
  • Was purposefully focused on Instagram’s worst flaws in order to assist the business in making changes.
  • Body image was the only one of 12 probable teenage concerns that Instagram made worse for girls, according to the study.

In other areas such as food difficulties, loneliness, anxiety and depression, “teenage girls who reported they faced these challenges were more likely to indicate that Instagram made these conditions better than worse,” it added.

“The study actually revealed that many of the kids we spoke with believe that using Instagram helps them when they are coping with the types of hard times and challenges that teenagers have always encountered,” Ms Raychoudhury wrote in the WSJ’s Facebook Files series two weeks following the report.

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