By Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram
September 27, 2021
We wanted to provide an update on our work to build an Instagram experience for people under the age of 13, often referred to as “Instagram Kids.” We started this project to address an important problem seen across our industry: kids are getting phones younger and younger, misrepresenting their age, and downloading apps that are meant for those 13 or older.
We firmly believe that it’s better for parents to have the option to give their children access to a version of Instagram that is designed for them — where parents can supervise and control their experience — than relying on an app’s ability to verify the age of kids who are too young to have an ID.
While we stand by the need to develop this experience, we’ve decided to pause this project. This will give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today.
Critics of “Instagram Kids” will see this as an acknowledgement that the project is a bad idea. That’s not the case. 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.
We’re not the only company to think so. Our peers recognized these issues and built experiences for kids. YouTube and TikTok have versions of their app for those under 13.
Our intention is not for this version to be the same as Instagram today. It was never meant for younger kids, but for tweens (aged 10-12). It will require parental permission to join, it won’t have ads, and it will have age-appropriate content and features. Parents can supervise the time their children spend on the app and oversee who can message them, who can follow them and who they can follow. The list goes on.
An important part of what we’ve been developing for “Instagram Kids” is a way for parents to supervise their child’s use of Instagram. While we’re pausing our development of “Instagram Kids”, we’ll continue our work to allow parents to oversee their children’s accounts by expanding these tools to teen accounts (aged 13 and over) on Instagram.
These new features, which parents and teens can opt into, will give parents the tools to meaningfully shape their teen's experience. We’ll have more to share on this in the coming months.
Recent reporting from the WSJ on our research into teen’s experiences on Instagram has raised a lot of questions for people. To be clear, I don’t agree with how the Journal has reported on our research. My colleague Pratiti goes into this more here.
We do research like this so we can make Instagram better. That means our insights often shed light on problems, but they inspire new ideas and changes to Instagram. Examples include our industry leading anti-bullying work such as Restrict, Hidden Words, and Limits, and our recent changes to make Instagram accounts private by default for those under 16.
Research also informs our work on issues like negative body image. We announced last week that we’re exploring two new ideas: encouraging people to look at other topics if they’re dwelling on content that might contribute to negative social comparison, and a feature tentatively called “Take a Break,” where people could put their account on pause and take a moment to consider whether the time they’re spending is meaningful.
I have three children and their safety is the most important thing in my life. I hear the concerns with this project, and we’re announcing these steps today so we can get it right.