Instagram rolls out new parental supervision tools

Instagram rolled out new tools Wednesday that will allow parents to more closely supervise their kid’s interactions on the social media app.

In a blog post, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri said parents will be able to view how much time their teens spend on Instagram and set time limits. They will also be notified when their teen shares they’ve reported someone. Parents will also be able to view and receive updates on what accounts their teens follow and the accounts that follow their teens.

The added measures will be rolled out globally in the coming months. 

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The tools will be a part of the app’s "Family Center" where parents and guardians can access various supervision tools and resources from leading experts.

Mosseri said teens will need to initiate supervision for now in the app on mobile devices. He plans to add the option for parents to initiate supervision in the app and on desktop in June. Teens will need to approve parental supervision if their parent or guardian requests it.

"Parents and guardians know what’s best for their teens, and in December I committed to developing new supervision tools that allow them to be more involved in their teens’ experiences," Mosseri said. 

In December, Instagram launched a feature that urges teenagers to take breaks from the photo-sharing platform and announced other tools aimed at protecting young users from harmful content on the Facebook-owned service.

Young users will see notifications about the feature and be urged to set reminders to take more breaks going forward. It’s one of the efforts that Facebook, renamed Meta Platforms, has touted on its multiple social media outlets as it weathers backlash about not doing enough to rein in harmful content and faces new legislation looking to impose restrictions on tech giants.

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Former Facebook product manager turned whistleblower Frances Haugen has testified to United States and European lawmakers working on those measures, citing internal company research suggesting that peer pressure generated by Instagram has led to mental health and body-image problems in young users, especially girls, and in some cases, eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.

Haugen also has offered guidance on new online rules that are much further along in the United Kingdom and European Union, which has pioneered efforts to rein in big technology companies.

The social media platform also said it’s developing features that will stop people from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them, nudge young users to other things if they have been focused on one topic for a while and be stricter about what posts, hashtags and accounts it recommends to try to cut down on potentially harmful or sensitive content.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. This story was reported from Los Angeles.