Instagram is building a kids version of the app for children under the age of 13, according to a news report. Currently, the main Instagram platform requires a user to be above 13 to make an account — this has to do with US regulations on online content, to protect children under the age of 13, called Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). A leaked internal communication from Instagram suggests that the company is looking to build a ‘version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.’ Details on how Instagram plans to execute this have not been mentioned.
The internal post written by Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vice president of product, was accessed by BuzzFeed News. This post was written on an employee message board and it says that building this children-friendly platform is now a part of their priority list. “I’m excited to announce that going forward; we have identified youth work as a priority for Instagram and have added it to our H1 priority list. We will be building a new youth pillar within the Community Product Group to focus on two things: (a) accelerating our integrity and privacy work to ensure the safest possible experience for teens and (b) building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.”
Initial work on making Instagram a safe place for kids has already begun. In its recent blog titled “Continuing to Make Instagram Safer for the Youngest Members of Our Community”, the company has detailed about new tools like the Parent Guide which is rich with information about settings inside Instagram on privacy and content controls. The company is also improving upon its work on understanding people’s real age. For teens, features like prompting them to be more cautious about interactions in DMs, restricting DMs between teens and adults they don’t follow, encouraging teens to make their accounts private and many others are a work in progress.
In any event, a whole new Instagram version just for kids is also reportedly under development, and this should be similar to services like YouTube Kids, which largely offers kid-friendly content. The leaked post also reportedly suggests that the work on Instagram for Kids will be overseen by Instagram Head Adam Mosseri and Facebook VP Pavni Diwanji, the latter of whom previously worked with Google on YouTube Kids.