Aren’t you annoyed that babies get to have a few years of life before having their mental health ruined by social media? I know — it’s so stupid it actually makes me sick. And it appears this injustice will not be rectified anytime soon.
Instagram head and recent Met Gala honorary chair Adam Mosseri announced today that Instagram would pause development of “Instagram Kids,” a social media platform for those under thirteen years old that was heavily criticized by both child safety groups and lawmakers. Mosseri’s announcement follows a Wall Street Journal investigation into parent company Facebook’s knowledge that Instagram negatively affects the mental health of teenagers, primarily teenage girls. It also comes three days before the Senate was set to hold a hearing titled "Protecting Kids Online: Facebook, Instagram, and Mental Health Harms.”
But even in his momentary defeat, Mosseri does not admit that “Instagram Kids” — a delightful concoction with the same kicky flair as “Baby Beer” or “Knives for Naives” — is a bad idea. “Critics of ‘Instagram Kids’ will see this as an acknowledgement that the project is a bad idea,” Mosseri wrote in the announcement. “That’s not the case. The reality is that kids are already online, and we believe that developing age-appropriate experiences designed specifically for them is far better for parents than where we are today.”
Mosseri correctly believes that pre-teens are already lying about their age to gain access to Instagram. Instagram Kids, he says, would allow those same pre-teens to instead opt into a less cool version of Instagram that their parents will have control over. “Finally!” those pre-teens are shouting from behind the closed door of their bedrooms that — actually? — their mom is legally not allowed to enter because it’s private property. Of course, Instagram Kids would also have the (unplanned, you see) benefit of getting an even younger class of Instagram users addicted to the platform as soon as the neonatal nurse gives them a good scrubbing.
(Though, because Instagram Kids is designated only for those 10-12 years old, the baby use of Instagram will likely have to prompt the development of Instagram Newborn. This will, again against user policy, likely be used primarily by pressing the phone against a pregnant person’s stomach. It’s a slippery slope, but luckily it can always be solved by more Instagram.)
Anyway, this is why I’m always saying we should have Toddler Guns: weapons designed for baby hands, with a set of parental controls. Doesn’t that sound more reasonable? I mean, the choice is either the toddlers use Toddler Guns or the toddlers use normal guns — it’s up to you!
Update: Following his written announcement, Mosseri for some reason posted this video announcement: