Kids-zone! Facebook is getting into the kid-friendly app game.
The social media giant is gearing up to create an Instagram that's just for kids under 13.
The announcement was confirmed to Buzzfeed News.
“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. “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.”
So, what motivated Facebook to develop a kid-focused app? Simple – an influx of kids asking to create accounts.
Currently, the popular photo-sharing app prohibits users under 13 from creating an account.
“Increasingly kids are asking their parents if they can join apps that help them keep up with their friends,” a Facebook company spokesperson told TODAY Parents. “Right now there aren’t many options for parents, so we’re working on building additional products — like we did with Messenger Kids — that are suitable for kids, managed by parents. We’re exploring bringing a parent-controlled experience to Instagram to help kids keep up with their friends, discover new hobbies and interests, and more.”
Facebook previously unveiled Messenger Kids for kids aged six to 12, but the app came with plenty of privacy and safety issues. Most notably, a 2019 glitch allowed Messenger Kids users to join chats with strangers.
It's likely why news of Instagram Kids received largely negative reviews from parents who raised concerns about issues from social media's impact on mental health to targeted ads and even communication from strangers.
The company clarified that since it is in the early-stages of development, there isn't a "detailed plan," but the goal is to focus largely on security and safety.
"We have to do a lot here,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, told Buzzfeed.
"He added that “part of the solution is to create a version of Instagram for young people or kids where parents have transparency or control. It’s one of the things we’re exploring.”
There is no launch date for the app.