Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has announced the rollout of new parental control tools across its platforms. The move is aimed at providing parents with more visibility into their teens' online activities and promoting healthier digital habits.
New Supervision Tools for Messenger
The first set of tools, available in Meta's Family Center, are rolling out in the U.S., the U.K., and Canada. These tools will allow parents to monitor their teens' privacy and safety settings, changes in the Messenger contact list, and the amount of time they spend in the app. Parents will also receive notifications when a teen reports someone, provided the child has explicitly allowed this notification.
Instagram's New Measures for Teen Interaction
In the past few years, Instagram has taken multiple steps to limit teen interaction with unknown adults. The latest move involves asking people who are not connected with a certain user to send an invitation to ask for permission to interact. These are text-only invites, and the sender can send just one at a time.
Meta is also introducing controls to reduce prolonged usage and encourage 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. Now, this feature is rolling out globally.
Meta is extending this feature 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.
Parental Supervision and Mutual Connections on Instagram
Parents can now view mutuals for accounts that a teen follows or accounts that follow them. This feature is designed to give parents more visibility into their teens' experiences on the app and to prompt teens to have conversations with their parents with new notifications.
Meta is taking a “stricter approach” to the content it recommends to teens. If users spend an excessive amount of time on a specific type of content, Meta will actively nudge them toward different topics, such as architecture and travel destinations.
These updates are part of Meta's ongoing efforts to establish Family Center as one central place where parents and guardians can find resources and tools to help manage their teens' experiences across Meta technologies, and strengthen the dialogue between parents and teens about their online lives.
Meta says it is committed to helping teens feel in control of their online experiences and helping parents feel equipped to support their teens. The company will continue to collaborate with parents and experts to develop additional features that support teens and their families.