In addition to a set of features recently made available in the United States, Facebook parent company Meta is introducing more parental control options for Instagram and its virtual reality headset.
The revisions follow a year in which the firm has been the subject of intense public scrutiny, with much of the criticism centered on child safety and Instagram’s negative effects on younger users, notably teenage girls.
The negative effects of the photo-sharing app on teenage girls’ mental health were repeatedly confirmed by the company’s studies, according to a Wall Street Journal investigation published last fall, even as Meta moved forward with a contentious plan to create a version of the social media platform for children under the age of 13. (That undertaking has since been postponed).
Additional allegations from whistleblower Frances Haugen, a congressional inquiry into child safety, and an examination of Instagram’s recruitment of and impact on children by multiple state attorneys general came in the months that followed.
The business said in December that it will be providing new parental and teen-targeted safety features, and they began doing so in March.
Instagram’s minimum account age requirement of 13 years old is easily circumvented because the program lacks an age verification system.
The difficulty still exists, according to Antigone Davis, the head of safety at Meta, who told Morning Edition that the firm is working on particular measures like creating artificial intelligence to better detect underage users.
There truly isn’t a magic bullet to fix the issue, she added. The industry faces that challenge, and we are attempting to address it in a number of ways.
New parental restrictions for Instagram have been released by Facebook’s parent company, Meta.
Parents and guardians can now invite their teens to use monitoring tools on Instagram. Only teenagers could submit invitations before this change. Additionally, parents and guardians can now choose particular periods during the day or week to restrict their teen’s access to Instagram.
With this new upgrade, parents and guardians will be able to see additional details, such as who reported the account or post and its specifics, when their child reports one. According to Meta, these modifications are currently accessible if you already have supervision set up on Instagram in the United States.
Starting this month, these tools will spread to additional nations, including the UK, Japan, Australia, Ireland, Canada, France, and Germany. Before the end of the year, Meta intends to launch the tools globally.
Instagram is introducing “nudges” that will persuade kids to switch to a different topic if they continually see the same kind of content on the Explore tab in addition to the new parental restrictions. According to Meta, the new nudge “excludes some topics that may be connected with attractiveness comparison” and is intended to inspire kids to learn something new.
In a blog post, Meta stated: “We created this new feature because research suggests that nudges can be beneficial for encouraging individuals, especially teens, to be more conscious of how they’re using social media in the moment. 58.2 percent of respondents in an independent study on the effects of nudges on social media use agreed or strongly agreed that nudges improved their social media experience by assisting them in becoming more attentive of their time on-platform.
One in five teens who saw the new nudges shifted to a different topic, according to the company’s own study, which was based on a one-week testing period.
Instagram included a “Take a Break” feature last year to persuade users to take a break from the app. Now that Reels, Instagram’s TikTok clone, has been scrolled in for some time, Instagram is launching new reminders for teens to activate Take a Break. These are currently being tested in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand; they will be made available in those and other nations later this summer.
Additionally, Meta claims that it is empowering young producers to create more material on Instagram that uplifts teenagers and promotes their wellbeing by providing financing and training. These content producers will get advice from professionals who will teach them how to make appropriate internet material.
The statement made today follows Meta’s March rollout of a new set of Instagram capabilities aimed at safeguarding young users. Parents will be able to access the company’s “Family Center,” a centralized center of safety tools, to manage what their children can see and do across all of the company’s apps.
Regarding Quest headsets, Meta recently announced that it will now let guardians and parents approve their teen’s purchase of an app that is by default restricted due to its IARC-rating. Teenagers who are 13 years old or older can send a “Ask to Buy” request, which alerts their parent. From the Oculus mobile app, the parent can then accept or reject the request.
Specific apps can now be blocked by parents, preventing their children’s children from opening them. Web browsers and apps from the Quest Store are among the programs that can be restricted. Parents may also check every app that their adolescent owns and get “Purchase Notifications” when their teen buys something. In addition to knowing how much time their child is spending in virtual reality, parents can now view their teen’s list of Oculus buddies. The youngster must start the process of linking to their account before parents can do so. After then, both the parent and the teen must concur.
In addition, Meta is introducing a brand-new “Parent education site” that will offer parents advice on how to talk to their teenagers about virtual reality as well as a tutorial to the company’s parental control features. Meta points out that this is just the beginning and that the parental control mechanisms will develop more over time.
A few months after Meta declared that it will incorporate fundamental parental supervision options into its VR headset, Quest has now released new parental controls. Although implementing these tools is the least Meta can do, parental controls will only be successful if parents and teenagers utilize them wisely.