Here’s what you need to know about Instagram for kids

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You might have heard the buzz about Facebook’s new Instagram for Kids, an app that hasn’t exactly launched just yet, but has been getting a lot of attention from Internet safety experts and Congress.

Back in March, Buzzfeed obtained an internal memo from Facebook that they were prioritizing youth work for Instagram. And well, given they launched Messenger for Kids, it wouldn’t be a surprise that something like Instagram for Kids would be next.

Officially, the minimum age for Instagram is currently 13, though many kids under 13 are already using the app and have been doing so for awhile. Conceptually, an Instagram for Kids seems viable; perhaps a safer place for kids to engage with their peers through photos and videos.

However, there’s always a bottom line. Facebook is a business, after all, and the question remains how they will monetize the app. Considering Instagram is rife with advertising, presumably that’s the direction they’ll go with the kids version, which creates all sorts of issues, beyond simple privacy.

Additionally, it’s unclear how they’ll monitor the actual age of kids; if kids can get on the app that’s 13 and up, adults could easily get on the app that’s 12 and under. And we already know connecting with kids on apps — through comments and messages — is a way that predators find their victims.

While recent Oxford University research study actually contradicts the belief that social media is bad for kids, there are still a myriad concerns about having an Instagram app specifically aimed at kids.

Until then, parents will want to continue to talk to their kids about Instagram, how it works, how to appropriately connect with people (including commenting and DM-ing), and what to do if they have a scary or suspicious interaction. These conversations are important for all of their tech and social media use.

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