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June 28, 2023

Meta Introduces Enhanced Parental Control Tools

Meta takes a significant step towards building a more secure and responsible social media ecosystem

In a move to prioritize the safety and well-being of young users, Meta has unveiled new parental control features across its platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger. The tech giant's latest tools include a comprehensive parental supervision hub in Messenger, a proactive measure to block unwanted direct messages (DMs) on Messenger and Instagram, as well as gentle reminders for teens to take breaks.

Initially launching in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, the Messenger supervision controls will be accessible through Meta's Family Center. These controls enable guardians to monitor their teenagers' privacy and safety settings, track changes in their Messenger contact list, and gauge their app usage time. Guardians will also receive notifications if a teen reports someone, provided that the child explicitly grants permission for such notifications.

Moreover, parents will have the ability to customize settings regarding who can message their teens, whether it be only friends, friends of friends, or no one at all. They will also receive notifications if their child modifies any of these settings.

In an effort to enhance safety measures on Instagram, the platform is taking steps to limit interactions between teens and unknown adults. The process of inviting a user's permission to interact will be implemented by requiring individuals who aren't connected with the user to send an invitation. Senders will be limited to one invitation per day.

Meta is also addressing the issue of prolonged usage on its platforms. Following the successful introduction of "Quiet mode" on Instagram earlier this year, allowing users to pause notifications and set auto-replies during breaks, the company has now expanded this feature globally. Furthermore, Meta aims to reduce excessive usage by notifying users on both Instagram and Facebook to take breaks after a continuous 20-minute session. Additionally, a prompt will appear for teens watching Reels late at night, encouraging them to close the app and prioritize rest.

To further ensure the protection of young users, Meta is introducing a new notice on Instagram, enabling teens to grant their guardians the ability to supervise their accounts. This update allows parents to view mutual connections for the accounts their teenager follows, as well as the accounts that follow them.

While Meta has implemented various measures to safeguard minors, including control over ad targeting and preventing the dissemination of intimate images, the company has faced scrutiny and legal repercussions. Despite a hefty fine for violating GDPR rules on children's privacy, Meta continues to improve its platforms and provide robust parental controls.

With these enhanced parental control tools, Meta aims to foster a safer digital environment for young users, empowering parents to actively participate in ensuring their children's online well-being.

Neil Hodgson Coyle
Neil Hodgson-Coyle
Editorial chief at TechNews180
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