Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram, on Monday, announced that the company has decided to pause the development of the “Instagram Kids” app amid concerns from parents, experts, policymakers, and regulators.
The announcement comes after a recent report from The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on the company’s internal research into teen’s experiences on Instagram and its negative mental health effect on young people, especially young girls.
Mosseri said that while building “Instagram Kids” is the right thing to do, it will use the extra time to work with parents, experts, and policymakers to demonstrate the value and need of this product.
“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,” Mosseri wrote in a blog post.
“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.”
He further added, “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.”
Mosseri said that critics of “Instagram Kids” may view pausing the project as a win and consider the app as a bad idea but that is 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,” he added.
“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.”
Mosseri argued that an important part of developing the “Instagram Kids” app is to allow parents to supervise their child’s use of Instagram. While the company has paused the development of the dedicated app for children, it will continue to work on its existing tools to allow parents to monitor those aged 13 and over.
“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,” he says.
It is unclear when the company plans to resume working on the Instagram Kids app.