I was browsing on social media (Instagram to be exact), and had not noticed my 4 year old watching me scroll for all of 6 minutes before she asked me what was I doing. When I told her I was on Instagram, she asked what it was and could she have one. At first thought, I thought it would be cool for kids/ toddlers to have social media. It could be a great and creative way for kids to socialize, and share things and ideas, and because my daughter can be shy, a great way for her to talk to friends, cousins, and even meet other kids that may be shy as well. Also, parents (not all) post their children on social media, and some even have social media accounts for their kids showing off their OOTD (outfit of the day) and the latest tiktok dance, so why not have a platform for the kids?!!!
According to the terms of service of the Instagram platform, you have to be 13, but there’s no age-verification process, so it’s very easy for kids under 13 to sign up. So how cool would It be to have an Instagram platform for my toddler!!!???
These thoughts lasted for all of 10 minutes.
After my initial thoughts, I did do some research and saw that there was a timeline of when social media was going to be created for kids, but there is now a pause in the “Instagram Kids” platform following concerns building parental supervision tools, and wanting to focus more on safety (negative body image, social comparison, and bullying). After ready some articles, and also some reddit post about this, I feel like I am on the fence. Parents can supervise the time their children spend on the app and oversee who can message them, who can follow them and who they can follow. Also, YouTube and TikTok have versions of their app for those under 13.
Surveys show that ninety percent (90%) of teens ages 13-17 have used social media.
Seventy five percent (75%) report having at least one active social media profile, and fifty one person (51%) report visiting a social media site at least daily. Two thirds of teens have their own mobile devices with internet capabilities.
I remember experience being on a computer for the first time around 12 years old, and now I live in an era where my 4 year old daughter was able to swipe left and right since the age of two. The digital era is where the future is going for children, and I think having platforms for young kids will be the inevitable, and parents will just have to monitor and prepare them for it.
Scott, Kellie. ABC Everyday (19 October 2019). Instagram accounts for babies are becoming more popular. This is what parents should consider. Retrieved from https://www.abc.net.au/everyday/considerations-starting-a-social-media-account-for-your-child/11524188
Moserri, Adam. Instagram (21 September 2021). Pausing “Instagram Kids” and Building Parental Supervision Tools. Retrieved from https://www.cio.com/article/2437873/45-years-of-wal-mart-history–a-technology-time-line.html
Harris, Nicole and Halkidis, Anna. Parents.com (27 September 2021). Is Instagram Safe for Kids?. Retrieved from https://www.parents.com/parenting/better-parenting/advice/how-instagram-is-helping-you-protect-your-child-from-social-media/