Instagram is postponing plans to release a kids version of its social media app following uproar from parents groups and lawmakers.
In a post published Monday, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri wrote they will work with parents, lawmakers and other critics to hear their concerns.
But Mosseri stood firm on launching Instagram Kids, saying it provides an alternative for children who are already online and using apps like Instagram, YouTube or TikTok.
“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,” said Mosseri.
In March, Instagram confirmed to USA TODAY plans to develop a version of its app for kids, but it was in its “very early stages.” The announcement spawned backlash from critics urging Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, to abandon the project.
“Instagram for young children is among the greediest, most tone-deaf, and wrong-headed ideas ever to emerge from Silicon Valley,” said Josh Golin, executive director for the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, in May.
The decision follows a Wall Street Journal report that Instagram could have a “toxic” impact on the mental health of teenagers, specifically teenage girls.
Facebook vice president and head of research Pratiti Raychoudhury disputed that claim in a statement Sunday.
“The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced,” said Raychoudhury.
On Thursday, Facebook global head of safety Antigone Davis will appear before a Senate Commerce subcommittee to discuss the potential mental health harms on teens posed by Facebook and Instagram.
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Terry Collins contributed to this report. Follow Brett Molina on Twitter: @brettmolina23.