Statement on Instagram’s New Kid Safety Measures
SAN FRANCISCO, August 25, 2022— Beginning today, Instagram will automatically route new users under the age of 16 to a version of the social media platform that blocks inappropriate content. Jim Steyer, Founder and CEO of Common Sense Media, issued the following statement about the new features.
"The safety measures for minors implemented by Instagram today are a step in the right direction that, after much delay, start to address the harms to teens from algorithmic amplification. Defaulting young users to a safer version of the platform is a substantial move that could help lessen the amount of harmful content teens see on their feeds. However, the efforts to create a safer platform for young users are more complicated than this one step and more needs to be done.
"For years, teens have been exposed to drugs, eating disorders, and violent and sexual content on Instagram all while being nudged by algorithms to continue consuming that dangerous content. Instagram should completely block harmful and inappropriate posts from teens' profiles. Instagram should also route users to this platform version if they suspect the user is under 16, even though they indicated at sign-up they are older. The platform's list of what types of content and accounts it considers sensitive should explicitly include content that promotes harmful behaviors like disordered eating and self-harm.
"With the increasing mental health crisis among youth in the country, social media companies like Instagram and others need to be proactive in putting all the necessary safeguards in place to ensure teens are protected on their platforms instead of waiting to be reined in by legislation. The new measures are welcome, but alone they are insufficient to make the site a safer and healthier place for all young users."
About Common Sense
Common Sense is the nation's leading nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the lives of kids and families by providing the trustworthy information, education, and independent voice they need to thrive in the 21st century. Learn more at commonsense.org.
Jason Maymon, Vice President, Communications