A couple of days ago content media company BuzzFeed broke the news about a new version of Instagram, specifically for a fixed age group between 6 to 12. They even had a short interview with Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram and he talked about how Facebook is exploring the idea of having a version of Instagram for kids.
In a recent blog posted by Facebook, they have talked about their continuous efforts to make Instagram safe for the younger community. As more and more kids are getting attracted to join the social media giants, parents do want some transparency with what their kids are doing online. Facebook has already released a kids version of their famous product Messenger in 2017 and they would want to try the same with Instagram.
With several researchers and doctors suggesting people to stop using social media as it hinders your mental health, let’s talk about how good/bad this idea is.
Issues with the current product of Instagram
Currently the minimum age to sign up for Instagram is 13, like any other social media but kids do find a way to use Instagram so the company certainly needs to work on the sign up method. Machine learning with the registration age to determine people’s age is certainly one of the ways to solve it.
Facebook should consider using the technique of verifying person’s age by letting them upload a simple image of theirs, just as people do on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, etc. Technology has improved a lot since the past couple of years and the potential age of a person can be determined by the machine itself. As a company they still need to make the process of signing up easy for the new users. Hence, the process needs to be simple.
‘Messenger for Kids’ was released by Facebook to make things private for kids, it claimed that texts from strangers got restricted but there has been several instances when kids receive texts from strangers. The same issue lies with Instagram as of now, it is even applicable for teenagers who get harassed while using Instagram.
Social media is full of explicit content and there should be some restrictions on it too, as you can see on YouTube. Other than that, parents should know what their kid is doing especially in his/her growing years, they must know who they are connected to, talking to or even meeting up. Currently there is no such transparency, hence they must also look in this sphere.
Good Points of having a separate Instagram for Kids
- The world where we live in has changed a lot, especially post COVID-19 and social media is one of the very few ways to be connected with friends and family. Hence, this could be a new market for Instagram to explore.
- The market is huge, thousands of products are available for them from physical toys to animated movies, the diversification is huge. There is YouTube for kids, why couldn’t there be an Instagram for them too?
- It will become very easy for parents to monitor what their kid is up to if they can work on the transparency issue.
- Kids can learn a lot of new things by following educational pages and content exclusively made for kids for their growth and development.
Bone of contention of having a separate Instagram for Kids
- Lots of usage of social media is bad for health as said by experts and doctors, kids might end up having issues later on if used in excess.
- The life on Instagram might end up making kids envious, we all know that social media life of a person is very different from the personal life and kids are too young to understand this.
- Too much advertisements is also not good for kids, there must be some sort of restriction for it.
- Privacy is the biggest issue, texts from strangers will not at all be healthy for kids. A lot of kids get manipulated from people which even puts their life on danger.
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Instagram for kids can be good, they have already have done that before but it’s still in the exploring phase. A lot of people who run technology do not allow their own kids to use mobile phone, so it is yet to see how successful and fruitful this idea can become.