Meta is adding some new parental supervision tools on Messenger and Instagram, as well as some new notifications to help limit the overuse of its apps.
Currently, it focuses on younger audiences in general and tries to avoid harm and unwanted attention across its messaging features.
First off, Meta is adding new parental supervision tools on Messenger. It will let parents see how much time their kids spend on the app.
Moreover, the parents of the young users will also be able to monitor who their contacts are and who can view their teen’s messages and stories.
The new tools will be available via Meta’s Family Center. It will not enable parents to read their child’s actual messages. Instead, it will give them more oversight into who they are engaging with and how others access their messages.
Parents will also receive notifications if their child reports somebody or their teen changes their messaging settings.
All these features will add another layer of assurance for parents. It will enable them to keep better tabs on what their kids do in the app.
It will also help avoid unwanted attention and address potential misuse.
Meta is also adding new parental supervision tools on Instagram. It is another new way to stay across your child’s digital interactions and activities.
The new Instagram features will give parents instant notifications whenever their child blocks someone in the app.
The feature will also provide oversight into how many friends your teen has in common with the other accounts that they follow and engage with.
Along similar lines, Meta is also testing new messaging privacy features on Instagram. It includes updated permissions for sending Direct Messages or DMs and limits on message requests and invites.
The updates will also help to combat unsolicited messages in the app. It will give each user more control over the types of DMs they receive.
Finally, Meta is also looking to help younger users better manage their time in its apps. With the addition of new alerts when they have spent 20 minutes on Facebook, prompting them to take time away from the app.
As you can see in this example, the new Facebook ‘nudges’ will alert young users to how much time they have spent in the app. It will prompt them to set up daily limits to avoid overuse.
Meta added similar nudges on Instagram back in 2021, in response to concerns about the potential negative impacts of Instagram use, particularly on younger audiences.
Though only the actual alerts are new, Facebook and Instagram have had time-limit reminders available to users since 2018.
So functionally, you have been able to set up these types of restrictions for years. But this adds a new type of alert in-stream. It could help to raise awareness of such.
Meta says it is also exploring a new alert on Instagram that suggests teens close the app if they are scrolling Reels at night.
These are important updates, particularly given the mounting evidence pointing to the dangers of social media use for youngsters. It also includes social media connections’ impacts on vulnerable users.
It is also why we need to take more care in the execution and rollout of VR and protect youngsters in this more immersive and interactive environment.
Meta has recently announced that it will now allow kids under the age of 13 to use VR, which has been restricted for a long and changes like this should come under more scrutiny.
Now, given the risk and damages we have seen in teen social media use.
Rolling out safety updates, in retrospect, is important. Still, Meta will also be looking to avoid similar risks in the future rather than dealing with the consequences later.
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