With files from the Associated Press
Instagram’s owner has confirmed it is thinking about creating a version of the platform that children under 13 can use. The move comes as the app faces criticism over the safety of minors online.
Instagram head Adam Mosseri told BuzzFeed News that “more and more kids” want to use the photo-sharing service, but it is difficult to verify their age because most people do not get identification documents until they are in their mid-to-late teens.
“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,” Mosseri said. He added that his team does not yet have a detailed plan for the new product.
BuzzFeed quoted an internal Instagram post by the app’s vice president, Vishal Shah, saying that they want to ensure “the safest possible experience for teens” and are “building a version of Instagram that allows people under the age of 13 to safely use Instagram for the first time.”
Children under the age of 13 are currently banned from creating Instagram accounts unless they are run by a parent or an adult supervisor.
The move comes as the popular service, which is owned by Facebook, faces criticism over children being exposed to bullying and predation online. Andy Burrows of the UK children safety group NSPCC told Sky News earlier this week that “there are consistently more grooming offences on Instagram than any other platform.”
Instagram announced a number of additional measures to protect minors on Tuesday, including restrictions on direct messages between teens and adults they do not follow, and encouraging teens to make their accounts private.
Instagram’s head of global policy programs, Carolyn Merrell, told ‘CBS This Morning’ that the company seeks to “get upstream and protect teens from unwarranted interactions between adults and teens.”