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Instagram is temporarily suspending the development of a version of the app for kids as it responds to concerns about the photo- and video-sharing platform’s negative impact on teens.
In a video and blog post shared on Monday, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, said he still “strongly” believed in creating a version of Instagram for tweens between the ages 10 and 12 where there wouldn’t be any ads and stronger parental controls, given that children are already going online, downloading apps and misrepresenting their ages. He also pointed to other companies like YouTube and TikTok who have versions of their platforms for kids under the age of 13 but acknowledged that Instagram needed to “pause” its development of Instagram Kids at this time.
“We’re going to take a step back and we’re going to take that time to talk and listen to parents, safety experts and researchers and get to more consensus about how exactly to move forward,” Mosseri said in a video.
The suspension of Instagram Kids comes a few weeks after the Wall Street Journal reported that Facebook and Instagram’s own research has shown that Instagram is having a harmful impact on the body image and mental health of its younger users, particularly teenage girls. (Instagram has pushed back on the reporting and argued it lacked context on their research.)
Since then, Instagram said it is testing out two new features: one that will help users look at other topics if they’re “dwelling on content that might contribute to negative social comparison,” and another that will allow users to put a pause on their account and “take a moment to consider whether the time they’re spending is meaningful,” Mosseri said in Monday’s blog post.
We’re pausing “Instagram Kids.” This was a tough decision. I still think building this experience is the right thing to do, but we want to take more time to speak with parents and experts working out how to get this right. pic.twitter.com/gMbPjft0CW
— Adam Mosseri 😷 (@mosseri) September 27, 2021
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