Professionals debate the value of ‘age-gating’ Instagram content

05 Feb 2020

Digital agency Web Marketing Clinic instigated an engaging debate on ‘age-gating’ on Instagram this week, asking if clinics should set a minimum age requirement for their Instagram page.

Head of content, Alex Bugg, explained, “Age-gating has previously only been applied to ads on Instagram and parent company, Facebook. Now, with ad regulations getting tighter, businesses can voluntarily apply this to their whole profile.”

Aesthetic practitioner Dr Victoria Manning responded, “A really interesting idea and one I think I will adopt; our site is currently targeting an older demographic, so probably not ‘sexy’ enough for teenagers as we don’t post lip before and afters on every other post. We mainly focus on educational content, reviews and safety. We will now be using this tool!”

Consultant plastic surgeon Mr Adrian Richards added, "I definitely think this is a great idea. I don't treat anyone under the age of 18 and do not aim for any of my content to reach anyone below this age, so glad to see that action can be taken to ensure that this is not the case." 

Aesthetic practitioner Dr Sophie Shotter agreed, noting, “I personally would encourage it. I don’t think my page is aimed at teenagers, and the images I post are a little ‘older’. I do post a lot of educational content on there too, but the way I see it, my business isn’t aimed at teenagers and there is the potential that businesses within the aesthetic arena can have a detrimental impact on teenagers.”

She continued, “What would be more useful, however, is that this is regulated by Instagram for businesses that provide certain services, rather than being a voluntary measure. My gut instinct is that the medical practitioners who have integrity would never target or treat teenagers anyway. The businesses who do so would be unlikely to apply a voluntary age restriction to their page.”

This concern was echoed by other practitioners, who also suggested that ‘age-gating’ could restrict valuable content such as skincare advice from under 18s, potentially leading to misinformation from those without appropriate qualifications and regulations.

Founder of Safety in Beauty, Antonia Mariconda, said that from her experience, ‘age-gating’ is something hardly anyone in the aesthetic industry actually do. She stated, “We carried out a survey and out of 20 respondents, only one ‘age-gated’ their content. Incidentally, he was a surgeon from the US carrying out Brazilian Buttock Lift procedures. I fear the industry won’t ‘age-gate’ voluntarily as it’s a huge detraction from their marketing goals, which is ultimately outreach.”

Aesthetics has reached out to Instagram for comment on whether this will be regulated in future.

If you want to ‘age-gate’ your Instagram feed, Web Marketing Clinic explains how:

  • Go to Settings
  • Click Business
  • Click Minimum Age
  • This can be removed once applied by accessing the same settings

Issues surrounding treatment of those under 18 have been discussed multiple times in the past, with a petition being launched in 2018. Under 18s being banned from having procedures is also one of the three aims of the Had Our Fill campaign, launched last month by The Sun. 

What are your thoughts? Do you ‘age-gate’ your Instagram content or would you consider doing so in future? Comment below!

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