Following an investigation by the Wall Street Journal, Facebook announced it will pause work on ‘Instagram Kids’ to get more feedback from parents and experts.
SEATTLE — The head of Instagram announced Tuesday the platform would hold off on developing “Instagram Kids” in order to get more feedback from parents, experts, regulators and policymakers. Adam Mosseri discussed the decision in a post on Instagram’s official blog.
“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.
Mosseri said “critics” of the new app will likely view the project pause as an “acknowledgment that the project is a bad idea.” He said that’s 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,” said Mosseri.
The announcement follows a series of Wall Street Journal (WSJ) investigative stories which reported Facebook, the owner of Instagram, was aware the use of Instagram by some teenage girls led to mental health issues and anxiety.
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Mosseri said he “does not agree” with how the WSJ reported on the company’s research.
KING 5 spoke to a University of Washington psychology professor and a local teen to find out their perspective on potential mental health issues that come with using an app like Instagram.
Both said they were “not surprised” by what the WSJ reported.
“It heavily focuses on social comparison of your body, of your lifestyle,” explained Dr. Lucía Magis-Weinberg, an assistant professor of psychology at UW.
Magis-Weinberg said younger platform users may not fully understand an app like Instagram showcases photoshopped and edited images and various filters.
“There should be encouragement for parents to have this conversation about simply how editing and unrealistic these profiles might be,” said Magis-Weinberg. “How professional cameras are involved, how makeup artists are involved, professional lighting, all these issues.”
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