Instagram Plans To Develop A Version Of Its App For Children Under 13. A news that asks a lot of questions.
Instagram, until now reserved for b, wants to expand its target by developing a version of its app for children. This is one of the news shared with network teams in mid-March in an internal message that the US news site BuzzFeedNews was able to consult.
|Instagram Plans To Develop A Version Of Its App For Children Under 13|
Children and teens, a new Instagram priority
, vice president at Instagram in charge of product features, said:
“I am very happy to announce that youth will become a priority for Instagram”.
Later in the text, he details the two priorities for future developments of the application:
“1) Accelerate our work on ethics and data privacy to ensure the safest experience possible for adolescents.
2) Develop a version of the app that allows children under 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time. “
This ad does not come out of nowhere: Instagram is regularly criticized for the risks incurred by minors on the platform, in particular in terms of cyberstalking, but also of child crime.
After several articles and surveys on the subject that appeared in the American press, the group had already made a blog post to say that it was looking very seriously at the subject and announcing new measures to protect the youngest. Which certainly should have been done a long time ago …
An Instagram app for kids: good news or not?
The network’s second project, to create a version of the app for children, is not too surprising either. Faced with competition from TikTok and Snapchat among teenagers, the parent company of Instagram, which is none other than Facebook, is logically seeking to strengthen its grip on younger users.
For Instagram, recruiting children under 13 for its children’s version is a way to ensure that they will continue to use Instagram “for the grown-ups” afterwards, since they will have taken the reflex to use it (or simply developed a form of addiction… everything is a question of point of view).
On the business side, we therefore understand very well Instagram’s strategy of developing an app for children; on the parents side, on the other hand, we can fear to see younger and younger kids spending hours on Insta!
Instagram for kids: a safe space with parental controls?
That being said, children who have a smartphone and access to the Internet (whether it be 4G or WiFi) do not necessarily wait for their parents’ permission to create an account on Instagram, and the age limit. 13 years old remains very theoretical…
Who has never lied on a website to the question: are you 18 years old?
So creating a space for children that is more secure and with parental controls might not be such a bad idea. An Instagram spokesperson told the Guardian that it was about responding to a need expressed by the children of their users:
“More and more, kids are asking their parents if they can join apps that help them follow their friends. “
And it is true that with the pandemic, the confinements and the closures of schools, we understand that children and adolescents need digital spaces to meet and have Zoom Snacks (the Zoom Apéro version for minors).
It remains to be seen now what the Instagram app will look like for the younger ones and how their safety will really be ensured on the platform.
After Messenger Kids, Instagram Kids?
Maybe Facebook’s latest app for kids, Messenger Kids, could give us some clues.
In the case of this messaging system, which has existed since 2017 in the United States, but is not available in France, parents must validate their children’s conversations with a new contact each time. They can then follow the list of approved contacts, and those who are actually online.
This did not prevent a security vulnerability from being revealed by the American site The Verge in 2019: a bug had allowed thousands of children to join discussion groups with unauthorized users …
So let’s hope that Instagram Kids will be able to better protect its (very) young users.