Facebook has confirmed that it is “exploring” building a version of Instagram for children because many kids under the age of 13 are interested in joining the photo-sharing platform.


STORY HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Parents would have full control over kids’ accounts.
  • Still in reality stages of development.
  • No “detailed plan” for it yet.
  • Could be scrapped.

An image showing an Instagram set against a colorful background

Instagram for kids, with parental controls

Instagram requires everyone to be at least 13 to use the service, but that could change in the future if Facebook proceeds with the plan to build a kid-friendly version of the service.

According to an internal company post obtained by BuzzFeed News, Instagram’s product head Vishal Shah informed employees via the internal message board about the project.

According to the message, the company leadership has “identified youth work as a priority for Instagram and have added it to our H1 priority list.” The internal message, embedded ahead in its entirety, adds that the company does not have a “detailed plan yet” for this product.

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.

The project could also be scrapped at any time.

Facebook confirms the report

A Facebook spokesperson subsequently confirmed the development to The Verge:

Right now there aren’t many options for parents, so we’re working on building additional products 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.

The initiative is said to be overseen by Adam Mosseri, who is the head of Instagram. Following the BuzzFeed report, Mosseri took to Twitter to confirm the development.

Kids are increasingly asking their parents if they can join apps that help them keep up with their friends. A version of Instagram where parents have control is something we’re exploring. We’ll share more down the road.

Facebook has been working to make its platforms more accessible to teenagers.

In 2017, it delivered a version of Facebook Messenger with parental controls, aimed at children between the age of six and twelve. Recently, Instagram introduced new policies aimed at stopping adults from sliding into teenagers’ direct messages if they don’t follow them.