Coming soon: Instagram for kids

Download: Over 500 million people use Instagram every day.

Is it a good idea? There could soon be a version of the photo-sharing app especially for users under 13. Some say it will make people safer. Others say kids shouldn’t use social media at all.

What’s happening

Kevin Systrom was 27 and working for a travel company when he had an idea that would change his life. What if there were a social network that allowed you to take, edit and share photos?

The app was built. Soon, it had 25,000 users. Two years later, it was sold for $1 billion. Its name? Instagram.

Find out more

Today, Instagram is one of the biggest social media apps in the world. Five hundred million people post on it every day.

So far, the app has only been available for users over 13. Anyone younger is banned from making their own account.

But that could soon be changing. According to some sources, officials are exploring building a version that could be used by younger children.

Instagram has recently spoken out about protecting its youngest users. Even though there are rules in place, lots of people lie about their age to make accounts.

The new app will have new AI able to work out somebody’s true age. It will also have technology that stops adults from messaging people under 18 who do not follow them.

So, is it a good idea?

Some say…

No. Social media is aimed at older people for a reason. Making an app for younger children might not solve some of the problems it already has. Besides, social media can make people feel bad if they don’t fit in. Instead of making new apps, we should be finding better ways to socialise, like hanging out in real life or talking on the phone.

Others think…

Yes! The idea gives young people a chance to use social media in a safe and legal way. Even Instagram admits that lots of young people pretend to be older so they can use the app. This would give everyone a chance to socialise, take beautiful pictures and get creative online.

You Decide

  1. Is social media just a way of showing off?

Activities

  1. Make your own app that people in your class could use to socialise. Think of a name for it and make a bright logo. Then think of three things it could do.

Some People Say...

“If you’re always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be.”

Maya Angelou (1928 – 2014), American poet, writer and civil rights activist

What do you think?

Word Watch

Kevin Systrom
The founder of Instagram taught himself coding in his spare time. Now, he is worth $1.8 billion and is on the list of the world’s richest people under 40.
Edit
At the time, an app called Hipstamatic let users put filters on their photos. But it had no way of sharing them. Instagram was a mixture of Hipstamatic and Facebook.
Sold
Facebook bought Instagram three years after it was created.
Sources
Somebody or something that supplies information. In this case, sources are people working at Instagram and Facebook with inside knowledge.
Officials
People who hold positions of authority at an organisation.
Rules
Social media apps ask for an age before letting you set up an account. But Instagram admits that many of its users lie about their age.
AI
Short for artificial intelligence. This is when a computer is able to learn in a way similar to a human.
Socialise
To take part in activities in a group setting. This is traditionally in real life – but it can also take place online.

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