clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Facebook is pausing Instagram for Kids. Here’s why

The Facebook decision comes weeks after a big report about Instagram

Photo of the Instagram app icon.
The Instagram app icon on the screen of a mobile device in New York.
Jenny Kane, Associated Press

Facebook announced Monday that it will be pausing the development of Instagram Kids, a kids-only version of the popular social media app.

  • “We believe building ‘Instagram Kids’ is the right thing to do, but we’re pausing the work,” said Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, in a blog post.

Mosseri wrote that Facebook started the platform “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.”

  • However, the company will pause development to “give us time to work with parents, experts, policymakers and regulators, to listen to their concerns, and to demonstrate the value and importance of this project for younger teens online today,” Mosseri wrote.

The decision to pause Instagram Kids comes about a week after a report from The Wall Street Journal suggested that Facebook and Instagram internal researchers actually know that Instagram is a toxic app for teen girls.

  • “Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse,” Facebook researchers said in a slide presentation, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. “Comparisons on Instagram can change how young women view and describe themselves.”
  • “Teens blame Instagram for increases in the rate of anxiety and depression,” said another slide, according to WSJ. “This reaction was unprompted and consistent across all groups.”

Instagram’s head of public policy Karina Newton said in a blog post at the time that the company is researching how to improve the experience for teens.

  • “We’re exploring ways to prompt them to look at different topics if they’re repeatedly looking at this type of content,” Newton said. “We’re cautiously optimistic that these nudges will help point people towards content that inspires and uplifts them, and to a larger extent, will shift the part of Instagram’s culture that focuses on how people look.”