Instagram has seen a lot of increased safety measures in 2019 — particularly for its young users — from built-in anti-bullying tools to a new blocking feature. And today, the social media platform is taking it one step further by ensuring all users on the platform are over the official age limit of 13 years old. Moving forward, users must provide their birth date to create a new account. If you have a connected Facebook account, your birthday on that platform will carry over to Instagram, or you can simply enter it directly on the IG platform.
Your birthday will not be visible to your followers on Instagram the way it is on Facebook, though. In a blog post, Instagram says this birthday information will be used to "create more tailored experiences, such as education around account controls and recommended privacy settings for young people."
Of course, age limits online are nothing new — according to the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, websites, apps, and other online services cannot take any personal information from children under the age of 13 without parental consent. But now, Instagram is excluding everyone under 13 altogether. It's one of the few social platforms that heretofore did not require user birth date upon sign-up — Snapchat, TikTok, and Facebook all have had this baked into their registration processes.
Instagram is also limiting who can send direct messages to whom. Users now have the option to receive messages and get added to group threads only by people they follow. This, coupled with Instagram's recent hidden like count testing, exemplifies the app's commitment to creating a safer, less pressurized experience for its users — a shift intended to combat the often negative effects on user mental health caused by the app.