Threads looks like it's taking on Twitter.
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More Than 10 Million Signed Up For Threads Day One: Should Your Kids?

Users 16 and under are defaulted to private profiles.

There’s a new social media app joining the likes of Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok. Mark Zuckerberg’s Meta launched Threads on Wednesday, and within hours more than 10 million people had signed up for the app. And because everyone likes to check out the newest and shiniest thing, you know kids are going to want to see what’s happening on Threads. But is Threads OK for kids?

Mark Zuckerberg plugged Threads as a “friendly community.”

Meta CEO and co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who famously brought us one of the original social media platforms Facebook, made an announcement about Threads on Instagram hours after its early launch on Wednesday. “Our vision is to take the best parts of Instagram and create a new experience for text, ideas and discussing what's on your mind,” he said in an Instagram video. “I think the world needs this kind of friendly community, and I'm grateful to all of you who are part of Threads from day one.”

How is Threads any different from other social media platforms?

At first glance, Instagram Threads appears to be very much like Twitter. And in many ways it is quite similar. The concept is to share ideas and thoughts through text instead of images, as happens on Twitter, but Threads does not rely on hashtags like Twitter. And there is no option to send direct messages as with the other two apps. This could mean that kids are slightly more protected from being personally targeted or bullied on social media without the direct message option, which could turn out to be a positive step in the right direction. But then again, once you’ve signed up for Instagram Threads, you can’t delete it without deleting your Instagram account at the same time.

What is the age recommendation for Threads?

Instagram recommends that kids need to be at least 12 years old to use the app. Earlier this year, U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said 13 was, in his view, too young to be on social media. “I, personally, based on the data I’ve seen, believe that 13 is too early,” Murthy told CNN’s Newsroom. “It’s a time where it’s really important for us to be thoughtful about what’s going into how they think about their own self-worth and their relationships and the skewed and often distorted environment of social media often does a disservice to many of those children.” Though Threads is available for younger users, it currently defaults to a private profile for anyone under the age of 16 or 18, depending on the country.

Is Threads safe for kids?

The short answer, ultimately, is that Threads does not appear to be safer or more dangerous than any other social media app. The Surgeon General does not believe that any of the apps are safe for kids and, in fact, pose a “profound risk of harm” to their mental health and well being. So proceed with caution on Instagram Threads. It’s the best we can do at this point.