IGTV

App review by
Neilie Johnson, Common Sense Media
IGTV App Poster Image
Instagram video browser offers limited usefulness.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this app.

Ease of Play

Simple interface lacks useful features.

Violence

No violence in the app itself; user-generated content could contain violent imagery and references.

Sex

No sexual content in the app itself; user-generated content could contain sexual imagery and references.

Language

No profanity in the app itself; user-generated content could contain profanity.

Consumerism

At the time of review, the app contains no ads.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No drug, smoking, or alcohol references in the app itself; user-generated content could contain these.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that IGTV is a free video-watching app by Instagram (its answer to YouTube) that lets users create their own channels and upload videos to them. The app can be linked to Facebook and is integrated with Instagram; as such, it contains content inappropriate for younger viewers, such as videos containing nudity, sexual situations, profanity (words like "f--k," "bitch," and "s--t") and imagery/references to drugs, smoking, and alcohol. According to Instagram's website at the time of review, the app's privacy policy is currently in flux; read the current policy to find out about the types of information collected and shared.

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What's it about?

IGTV is a video app mainly designed to let users instantly follow video content created by their favorite Instagram stars. It has no video tools of its own; it's merely a method of browsing and posting existing content. Users create their own channels and then upload videos to them from phones or tablets: The app store says videos can be "up to an hour" long, but in-app text says between 15 seconds and 10 minutes. Its main selling point is its vertical format. All videos, regardless of the format they're shot in, are displayed vertically in order to accommodate mobile device screens. Users can browse content, "like" and comment on videos, follow "channels," and share videos via messenger with friends.

Is it any good?

If Instagram's plan with this app is to knock YouTube off its high horse, they've got a ways to go. Firstly, it carries all of the concerns parents already have about Instagram, so you can assume the content will be similar, except for longer videos. But IGTV isn't a video maker. It has no creative tools whatsoever and is meant strictly as a video-viewing tool. The main thing that makes it different from other, similar apps is its vertical display format -- a feature that's questionable at best. Sure, most people hold their phones vertically, but is it that big a deal to turn them sideways for widescreen? A bothersome side effect is that uploaded videos must be recorded in a vertical format. So your vacation video from Disneyland with all the glorious horizontal views? They're a no-go here; you'll be turning your phone 90 degrees to watch them, as always. And just that fast, a so-called feature becomes a limitation. Other than the format, the point seems to be isolating video content into channels and allowing longer videos, but with this feature already integrated into the existing Instagram app, it seems unlikely to attract those who don't use Instagram already. The interface feels clunky and unfinished, and as of this writing, it's impossible to upload anything longer than 10 minutes, sort content by category, or save your favorite videos to your channel. The best thing to be said about IGTV is that it accesses Instagram video content instantly -- itself a questionable benefit unless your Instagram faves are big on creating long-form video. The draw of Instagram's billion-strong audience will likely keep this app afloat for a little while, but it's got some work to do before it can seriously take on YouTube.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about posting videos online using apps like IGTV. What's safe to post? What's not? 

  • Discuss what makes people flock to a new app. Do you choose apps based on what's popular? Does this app add to the Instagram experience?

  • Think about what makes an app worthwhile. What does an app have to do in order for you to keep it?

App details

For kids who love social media and digital presentation

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