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27th Jun 2023

New parental supervision measures added to Meta platforms

Meta has added new parental supervision tools and privacy features to its platforms following backlash over its effects on young people’s mental health.

These new features will see Instagram and Facebook bring in new measures to ensure teenagers are protected while using social media platforms.

They will require both minors and their parents or guardians to opt in which has raised some questions over their effectiveness.

For Instagram, it will now send a notification to users under the age of 18 after they block someone to encourage them to allow their parents to monitor the account.

Meta hopes this will grab the child’s attention and allow them to be more open to parental guidance.

If children are to opt in to the new features, the system will allow parents to set time limits, see who follows their child and who they follow and track how much time they spend on the app. Parents will not be able to see their child’s messages.

Last year, Instagram launched supervision tools to allow parents to further navigate the platform, creating a feature that allows children to sign up if they want their parents to supervise the account.

It is unclear how many teenagers used this feature which allows parents to see how many friends their child has in common with someone to determine if they know them in real life.

Meta said this “will help parents understand how well their teen knows these accounts, and help prompt offline conversations about those connections”.

The new feature will allow parents to see how much their child is active on messaging services in the apps as well as their contact lists and privacy settings, but not who they are chatting to.

From today, Meta is also encouraging children to take a break from Facebook in the same way it does on Instagram. On Instagram, after 20 minutes of scrolling, teenagers are sent a notice to take time away from the app.

If they want to remain on the app, they simply close the notification.

TikTok also has a feature like this as a notification appears after an hour on the app, which children can bypass by entering a code.