Instagram launches new parental controls

Concerned parents will now be able to check how much time their teenager spends scrolling on Instagram as the social media giant rolls out family-friendly tools and resources.

Meta's teen-friendly social media app has launched a series of supervision features on Wednesday allowing parents to monitor their teenagers' social media activity.

Parents will be able to see who follows their children, get weekly reports on new connections, and set time limits on how much time they spend on Instagram.

They will also receive a notification when their teen reports an account or piece of content, and their child will have the option to leave notes to their parents on why the account was reported, in a bid to start healthy conversations.

Meta also plans to provide links to anti-bullying, mental health and eating disorder resources after reports are made.

Instagram will also augment its Take A Break nudge to prompt teens to move onto different topics if they repeatedly look at the same content on the explore page.

The tools will only become available to a parent if the teen and the parent mutually agree.

Meta consulted with Australian parents and teenagers, who told them self-supervision can be a foundation for safe and healthy use of social media, Mia Garlick, Director of Policy at Meta ANZ, said.

She said social media is critical to the way teens communicate, and this only increased during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Teens often self-supervise because they're sort of concerned that the oldies don't really get it," Ms Garlick said.

"They're worried that there'll be over concern about some of the content or the people that they may interact with or how they interact with them."

The consultations revealed young people are building self-supervision skills with their peers.

Parents and teens are both accepting of online supervision by a close family circle, she added.

Another finding was that safe use needed to be fostered by defining boundaries for teenagers.

Ms Garlick said there are instances where a trusted professional may be needed to intervene to curb social media use.

"Parents and guardians ... they're fine with young people using social media but where it starts to affect their engagement in everyday activities and responsibilities is where they have concern," she said.

Instagram has also launched a Family Centre education hub with resources designed to educate teens about staying safe online.

Resources will be offered by eating disorder charity Butterfly, mental health charity Orygen Youth Health, anti-bullying group Project Rockit, ReachOut and the eSafety Commissioner.

Austrlaian Associated PressBack to Breaking News

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