TECHNOLOGY

Instagram Kids App for Children Under 13 Paused After Criticism

Instagram is pausing work on a version for children younger than 13, called “Instagram Kids”, the Facebook-owned photo sharing app said on Monday.

US lawmakers and advocacy groups have opposed the launch of “Instagram Kids”, urging the social media giant to drop its plans and stating that it had failed to “make meaningful commitments to protecting kids online.”

“We believe building ‘Instagram Kids’ is the right thing to do, but we’re pausing the work,” Instagram said in a blog post, adding it would continue building on its parental supervision tools.

“The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today.”

A group of 40 state attorney generals in May this year had urged Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg to abandon plans to launch a version of Instagram for children under the age of 13.

“Use of social media can be detrimental to the health and well-being of children, who are not equipped to navigate the challenges of having a social media account,” the officials said in a letter.

“Further, Facebook has historically failed to protect the welfare of children on its platforms,” they said.
A Facebook spokesman had said the company had “just started exploring a version of Instagram for kids” and said it was committing “to not showing ads in any Instagram experience we develop for people under the age of 13”.

The company had also said it agreed that any version of the photo-sharing app Instagram “must prioritise their safety and privacy, and we will consult with experts in child development, child safety, and mental health, and privacy advocates to inform it”.

© Thomson Reuters 2021


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