Siliguri, India: As the pandemic shows no signs of diminishing, social media is increasingly becoming a gateway to channelize the frustrations of what is happening around, lockdown, restrictions, and everything in between.
While kids have not stayed away from using social media platforms, even though they’re legally disqualified for using such forums (below age 13), they still manage to get their hands on the accounts, sometimes their own, and sometimes their parent’s (in case of India).
The result, kid-friendly versions of popular apps like YouTube and Messenger were launched.
Taking this into consideration, the Facebook-owned social media giant is mulling a kid-friendly version of its own app.
The news from Instagram, which confirmed a report by BuzzFeed News, comes amid concerns about difficulties in keeping underage children off the perilous world of social media.
“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,” Vishal Shah, Instagram’s vice president of product, wrote on an employee message board on Thursday, BuzzFeed News quoted as saying.
“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.”
Adam Mosseri, who heads the Facebook-owned service, said on Twitter: “Kids are increasingly asking their parents if they can join apps that help them keep up with their friends,” Mosseri said.
He added that “a version of Instagram where parents have control as we did with Messenger Kids, is something we’re exploring.”
— Ryan Mac🙃 (@RMac18) March 18, 2021
Concerns fired back at Mosseri in the Twitter exchange included worries about bullying or inappropriate content, reasoning that social networks are constantly battling those kinds of abuses.
“We don’t just give stuff to kids because they WANT it,” read a tweeted response to Mosseri from ‘a mom.’
“We don’t give kids dangerous tools to play with when grownups haven’t figured out how to make those tools safely.”
Facebook-owned Instagram, like its parent company, allows only those older than 13 to join but verifying age on the internet makes it challenging to catch all rule-breakers.
Instagram, which has more than a billion users, this week unveiled technology aimed at preventing underage children from creating accounts and blocking adults from contacting young users they don’t know.
It was the latest move responding to concerns about inappropriate contact between adults and children on the platform, which like most services sets an age minimum of 13.
Instagram will begin using artificial intelligence to determine a user’s age at sign-up in an effort to find underage users.
“While many people are honest about their age, we know that young people can lie about their date of birth,” a blog post this week said.
Additionally, the California giant said it would introduce a new feature that prevents adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them, to prevent unwanted contact.
Instagram is also looking at ways to make it more difficult for adults who have been exhibiting “potentially suspicious behavior” to interact with teens, including restricting these adults from seeing suggested teen accounts.
With AFP inputs.