Instagram is trialling new options using video selfies for teenagers to verify their ages to comply with new rules. This has come since children are trying to bypass the rules by altering their date of birth. These individuals wishing to join Instagram will have to upload ID or take a video selfie. Meta hopes having these new methods of verifying age in place will be a clamp down on underage users.
Will Gardner OBE, Chief Executive of Childnet and Director of the UK Safer Internet Centre, has commented on the upcoming trial: “The potential is there to try and help protect children from content which isn’t for them and make their internet experience more age-appropriate.”
5Rights Foundation, a UK organisation campaigning for child safety in the digital environment, says efforts are “long overdue”. Platforms should “leave behind the ‘don’t look don’t see attitude’ that has led to millions of children being put at risk”, 5Rights says, “simply knowing the age of your users is not enough.”
Dr Ysabel Gerrard from University of Sheffield:
Dr Ysabel Gerrard, lecturer in digital media and society at the University of Sheffield, says Instagram’s new age-verification methods are a welcome addition to just asking users to upload ID.
“A lot of them are saying they’re 18 on Instagram not to do bad things or view bad content,” Dr Gerrard says.
“Being technically registered as an adult makes them feel safe because they don’t think they’re going to be targeted.”
For Dr Gerrard, Instagram’s new verification mechanisms raise larger questions about what helps children to feel safe on social media platforms. “Pretending to be an adult is one of them. It’s a harsh reality, but we can’t pretend it’s not happening.”
Social media is used by millions of people daily of all ages, which can be dangerous. Through the powers of social media people can find out a lot about you from what you disclose and the posts you add. Addresses and contact numbers can be obtained if people are not social media smart. Parents must monitor their children’s social media accounts and people must also be taught the hidden dangerous from these platform sites.
Date: August 8, 2022