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Expert offers social media safety tips as Instagram explores new app for kids

Instagram’s kids version is still in an exploratory phase, but the social media giant hopes it will protect younger users from predators and inappropriate follows.

PHOENIX — It looks like Instagram may be exploring the idea of a new version of their photo-sharing app that is just for kids.

According to an internal company post obtained by BuzzFeed News, Instagram may be planning to build a version for users 13 and younger. While the app won't be released any time soon, one expert is offering a few reminders and tips about social media safety for children.

According to Mark Stewart, a digital media expert and founder of Concept2Completion in Chandler, Arizona, kids are likely already finding their way onto social media platforms. 

And while Instagram's latest pursuit of additional online safety features may not be perfect, it might be parents' best option.

Here’s what the kids version aims to do to keep your kids safe: 

  • Protect younger users from being messaged by adults they don’t know, 
  • Make it harder for adults to discover younger users, 
  • Provide safety notices if adults they follow are exhibiting suspicious behavior
  • Use artificial intelligence to determine if users are children or adults. 

“I would recommend that people do it if you have a kid that’s under 13 years old that is consuming content online," Stewart said about the potential new app. "And you know they are if they have a smartphone, or even if you give them your phone.”

Of course, these new safety features aren’t foolproof. And keep in mind, Facebook is behind this as it owns Instagram. 

Stewart's big advice for parents interested in allowing their kids to use Instagram is to "stay attentive" to what their kids are consuming and remind them that Instagram is "not real.” 

In other words, no one's life is as perfect as Instagram may make it appear. 

Again, Instagram for kids is still in an exploratory phase. The social media app currently does not allow children under 13 to sign up.

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