Facebook’s parent company, Meta, is taking significant steps to enhance the safety of teenagers on its social media platforms in response to concerns raised by parents. The introduction of new safety measures and monitoring tools aims to address the negative impacts experienced by young users.
New Safety Measures for Messenger and Instagram
Meta has introduced parental controls on Messenger, its instant messaging service, mirroring the features already available on Instagram. This allows parents and guardians to exercise control over their teenagers’ activities on the platform. They can view updates from their contact list, receive alerts if their teen reports someone, and monitor the amount of time spent using the chat tool.
A noteworthy addition is the ability for parents and teenagers to communicate directly through notifications if their accounts are synced. This two-way dialogue encourages discussions and fosters better communication within families.
Encouraging Healthy Social Media Habits
Recognizing the potential negative effects of prolonged usage, Meta is urging teen users of Facebook to limit their time on the app to 20 minutes. This prodding feature aims to promote healthy online habits and prevent excessive screen time.
Similarly, on Instagram, Meta plans to implement a new nudge that encourages teenagers to refrain from spending too much time watching Reels or videos late at night. By discouraging extended use during nighttime hours, Meta aims to prioritize the well-being of young users.
Enhanced Safety and Privacy on Instagram
Instagram is testing a feature that restricts interactions between users who are not followers. In this new setup, users who are not followers must send an invitation to connect. Until the recipient accepts the invitation, they are unable to engage in activities such as calling, sending images, videos, voice messages, or making phone calls to the user.
This feature is designed to reduce the amount of unwanted content, particularly from strangers, that women often encounter on the platform. Meta acknowledges the importance of creating a safe and secure environment for all users.
Holistic Approach to Teen Safety
Meta’s commitment to teen safety extends beyond the introduction of new features. In response to internal documents highlighting the potential negative impact of Instagram on young users’ mental health, Meta has taken several measures to address these concerns.
An educational hub has been launched on Instagram, providing parents with valuable resources, advice, and articles from specialists in user safety. By equipping parents with the necessary knowledge, Meta hopes to empower them to guide their teenagers effectively.
Furthermore, Meta has adopted a “stricter approach” to the content it suggests to teenagers. If a user focuses excessively on a particular subject, such as architecture or travel destinations, Meta actively redirects their attention to a broader range of content. This approach ensures a well-rounded experience and mitigates potential negative effects.
Safety Measures Across Platforms
While Facebook and Messenger have undergone minimal changes in this regard, Facebook does offer a Safety Centre that provides supervision resources and tools. The Safety Centre includes informative articles and guidance from authoritative sources, reinforcing Meta’s commitment to user safety.
Meta’s introduction of new safety measures and monitoring tools for teenagers reflects its dedication to creating a safer online environment. By addressing concerns raised by parents and adopting a proactive approach, Meta aims to protect the well-being of young users on its platforms.