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The popular social media juggernaut Instagram has recently expanded its access to younger users last July 28. The company unveiled that its app will now be open to teens as young as 16 years old. While this may sound a bit alarming to some people, the company ensured that anyone under this age bracket will have their accounts to be in private by default. For more tech-related news, keep it here at Singapore news.

Are the youths mentally and socially ready for this?

Straits times

This, along with other safety and privacy measures are also in place to ensure the full protection of these young users. Depending on the territory, Instagram said that they will now be accepting anyone between 16 to 18 years old. They went on to add that the decision was made with proper and careful consultation with actual child experts.

According to an interview with Karina Newton, the Public Policy Director of the company, the child experts have elaborated the differences between a 13-year-old, a 16-year-old, and above. These experts have recommended the age of 16 to be a timely age to be in such an open and public online platform.

The child experts have explained how at this certain age, teens are starting to have a full understanding of what they want to be and how their online presence would look like. In other words, they are more than capable of being able to handle the situation with little to no difficulty.

On the bright side

While the online landscape has vastly changed over the decade, the people who use them have definitely adopted it and nearly everyone, even the oldest of humans are now online. Instagram wanted to expand upon its user base all while trying to maintain its integrity of prioritizing the safety of its users, more importantly, the newer and younger generation of platform users.

Facebook, the big company that now owns Instagram, believes that this is a great step towards spreading awareness to the youth on how they can be socially responsible with every action that they will make over the internet. This includes completely having a full understanding of the many terms and conditions that a platform like Instagram has.

Exposing the youth to such a platform will enable them to be more responsible and that’s with the help of the right mindset, knowledge, and of course, the tools that the platform has to offer to guide them. There are lots of harmful elements littered across the internet and Instagram pledges to provide their absolute best in preventing this from ever affecting these young users.

In a beta test that was done by the company, Newton happily stated that a good percentage of youths have shown interest in having their accounts set to private willingly. Eight out of ten teens wanted to have their accounts privately which is a good indication that these youths are aware of the risks themselves.

It’s all about a bigger, better, and safer future

Over the last few updates of Instagram, the company has clearly geared towards becoming completely transparent towards every single safety measure they are constantly adding to their platform. This includes additional features that allow the user to fully customize their social experience and connection with other users.

Newton also added that the company has always been protective of its users and even has consequences in place for those who will attempt to circumvent their system and their established rules. Now that they are trying to roll out the platform to younger users, they are working their hardest to even double down on this to ensure protection and overall order.

She also added that their system has a way to detect and prevent unwanted contact or connection to unknown or random adults. One step they did was to disable private messaging to these minors. Newton said there will be more features to be added down the line and they are always on full alert.

At the end of the day, regardless of how risky this may seem to you, it would still be advisable for the parents to evaluate and consider if they want their kids on the platform. Even the company itself has put a great emphasis on this.