Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Introducing the ‘Instagram questionnaire’: A choice between heart eyes and rainbows, with math problems thrown in

Snapchat for kids: My kids, says the questionnaire from Instagram, as they roll the first dice in our latest round of playtime experiments, should use that account to keep their eyes (and wallets) safe. It’s the sort of advice that could put a pen in your daughter’s hand and a point guard in your son’s bag and cause the universe to come crashing down.

But there’s no need to leave like Richard Sherman, who used his Instagram account to wave a flag of support for his family at a time of grief. Offiicals at the photo-sharing service, which has tried to become more user-friendly for children aged 12 and under, decided to pause the question this week.

“Instagram temporarily paused Kids build on Instagram after we received a lot of feedback on the questionnaire,” a company spokeswoman said in an email to The Washington Post. “We didn’t want anyone to misunderstand this was our intent.”

Instagram’s survey asks for details on children’s home lives and the type of media they consume, what they’re learning at school and which celebrities and media celebrities they follow. A math problem pops up that calls out popular hashtags for “image” and “energy” and asks the family to explain the development of these two definitions and then rate the likelihood the child will try them.

It comes amid mounting pressure from privacy and safety advocates who argue that tech companies like Instagram are failing to respond to concerns about safety and privacy. Parent groups have filed a series of consumer lawsuits and other complaints against tech companies, including in court last week in California, where a judge set a trial date to hash out issues such as how much data companies can collect and how they can market to kids under the age of 13.

The parent-owned social media app, Snapchat, seemed to get a taste of the backlash after it introduced a new feature that gives friends a chance to “uncouple” from digital friends. Children have reported being scared and upset by the change, though Snapchat told Fortune that parents can opt out of the feature.

Earlier this year, Facebook said it was suspending the use of kid-friendly emojis such as hearts, smiley faces and rainbows after a review found that kids as young as 6 and 7 were using the emojis to boost their self-esteem.

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