Instagram had announced in December last year that it will start to roll out new parental control features on its platform. Those features have now started to arrive for users in the US. The photo-sharing app calls the new features the "first set" of broader parental control measures. The features will give parents the chance to view what their kids are doing on Instagram. They will also be able to set limits as to how much time their children can spend on the platform.
Updates on which accounts teens are following and who is following them will also be delivered as part of these new tools. Instagram came under fire last year after it emerged the platform has had negative impacts on teens. A research publication, which had been done internally by the photo-sharing app, showed that Instagram had “detrimental effects” on the mental health of younger users.
Soon after the research was leaked, Instagram said that it would reevaluate its platform to see how the issue can be addressed. The platform also confirmed that it was halting work on a version of Instagram that would have targeted users below the age of 13. The platform also announced that it will introduce a feature that makes it easier for anyone to take a break from the app.
But there were calls for Instagram to do more and in December, the platform announced that it would implement far-reaching parental control measures. It seems Instagram is now sticking to its word. As of now, however, parental control will need to be initiated by teens. But this will change in June when parents will have the power to initiate supervision.
They will, however, still need to get permission from account owners to do it. The time limitation feature is also yet to roll out. Instagram says that this will happen by June. Meta Platforms, the tech giant that owns Instagram, has been taking steps to give parents greater control over their children’s social media activity. In fact, parental controls are expected to roll out in most Meta products, including its Quest VR headsets starting next month.
Parents will have the ability to lock teenagers out of age-inappropriate apps in the Quest store. The Oculus mobile app has a full "Parent" dashboard where parents and guardians can access the full spectrum of supervision features for Meta’s AR service. The new parental controls for Instagram are not limited to the US alone.
The plan is to roll them out gradually starting with the US. Other selected countries will then follow but eventually, Instagram believes that the features will be available globally in several months. Parental control for social media is something that has dominated debate in recent years given the high number of underage kids who use these platforms. But it is now clear that Meta is heading these calls. But how effective these new tools will be in preventing social media abuse remains to be seen.