Meta announced new parental control tools across Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger today. This includes a new parental supervision hub in Messenger, a feature that pre-emptively blocks unwanted DMs on Messenger and Instagram, and nudges to remind teens that they should take a break.
Messenger supervision controls, which will be available in Meta’s Family Center, are rolling out first in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. These tools will let guardians see their teens’ privacy and safety settings, changes in the Messenger contact list, and how much time they are spending in the app. Guardians will also get a notification when a teen reports someone — however the child has to explicitly allow this notification.
Parents can also look at settings like who can message their teens — only their friends, friends of friends, or no one — and who can view their stories. The guardians will also get a notification if the child changes any of these settings.
In the last few years, Instagram has taken multiple steps to limit teen interaction with unknown adults. In the latest move, the company will ask people who are not connected with a certain user to send an invitation to ask for permission to interact. Instagram said that these are text-only invites, and the sender can send just one at a time.
The company is also rolling out some controls to reduce prolonged usage, encouraging users to take a break. Instagram first introduced a “Quiet mode” in January, which allowed users to pause notifications and auto-reply to DMs that they are taking a break. At that time, it will available to users in the U.S., the U.K., Ireland, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. Today, the company said that “Quiet mode” is rolling out globally.
Instagram has been testing features that encourage you “take a break” and nudge users after a continual usage of defined minutes to put their phone down. Meta is now extending this to Facebook, notifying users after 20 minutes of usage to take a break. Additionally, the company will also notify teens watching Reels at night to close the app.
Meta is also sending teens a new notice on Instagram to let their guardians supervise their accounts for protection. The company said that parents can now view mutuals for accounts that a teen follows or accounts that follow them.
Earlier this year, Meta introduced control over ad targeting for teens on Instagram and Facebook. In February, it backed a tool that allowed minors to stop their intimate images from being posted online. However, the company hasn’t refrained from serving ads to teens. Last year, the company was fined more than $400 million for violating GDPR rules over children’s privacy.