Instagram finally rolled out its long-awaited parental controls in the US on Wednesday, which were announced in December 2021. Platform manager Adam Mosseri wrote on Meta’s official blog that he’s introduced the “first set” monitoring tools that allow parents and guardians to oversee their teens’ Instagram experience and habits, from the accounts they follow to the time they spend on the platform.
Instagram previously announced it would introduce parental controls after months of widespread criticism from parents, children’s privacy advocates and lawmakers.
Instagram for Kids had to be put on hold after internal research leaked to the Wall Street Journal suggesting Instagram had a detrimental effect on the mental health of teens, especially teenage girls, which Meta disputed as inaccurate. Anyway, the company ended up coming up with a feature that encourages teens to take a break from Instagram after spending a while scrolling.
Parental supervision tools introduced in the United States, which will be available in other countries in the coming months, allow parents and guardians to see how much time their teens spend on Instagram, set time limits, to receive notifications when they report another user or a harmful message, and to see and receive updates on the accounts they follow and the accounts that follow them.
For now, teens will need to launch the monitoring feature from the Instagram app on mobile devices, according to Mosseri. In June, Instagram will give parents and guardians the option to initiate the supervision process on mobile devices and computers, but teens will still need to approve parental supervision if requested.
Not yet available in France
Instagram is working on features that would allow parents to set specific times when their teens can use Instagram and allow more than one parent to oversee the teen’s account. Supervision features can be removed by parents or teens at any time, and they automatically turn off when the teen turns 18.
Instagram has also launched a centre called Family Center, where parents and guardians can access supervision tools and educational resources across all of Meta’s platforms, including advice articles, video tutorials and tips on how to talk to teens about social media and the harmful content they encounter.