Instagram plans new tools to boost teen safety

Platform is also developing new education hub for parents and guardians

Instagram is introducing new features to help protect younger users. Photograph: iStock

Instagram is introducing new features to help protect younger users. Photograph: iStock

 

Instagram is introducing new features designed to protect younger users on its platform, limiting the ability of users to tag teen accounts, tightening up what can be recommended to younger users and rolling out a feature that will remind users to step away from the app.

The “Take a Break” feature, which was previously announced as a test early last month, prompts users to take a break from scrolling if they have been using the app for an extended time.

“If someone has been scrolling for a certain amount of time, we’ll ask them to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future,” said Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram. “We’ll also show them expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset.”

The new feature will launch in Ireland, the UK, US, Canada and Australia from December 7th.

Instagram will also be stricter in what is recommended to younger users through the app, and will stop accounts from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them. If a user is spending a long time on one particular topic, Instagram will nudge them towards different topics.

The platform will also launch its first tools for parents and guardians early next year, allowing them to monitor time spent on the platform and set limits, with a new educational hub also in the works.

“We’ll also give teens a new option to notify their parents if they report someone, giving their parents the opportunity to talk about it with them. This is the first version of these tools; we’ll continue to add more options over time,” Mr Mosseri said.

“We’re also developing a new educational hub for parents and guardians that will include additional resources, like product tutorials and tips from experts, to help them discuss social media use with their teens.”

Instagram is also testing a new tool that will allow people to manage their previous activity, including bulk deleting previous posts, comments and likes, with a January launch planned.

“While available to everyone, I think this tool is particularly important for teens to more fully understand what information they’ve shared on Instagram, what is visible to others, and to have an easier way to manage their digital footprint,” Mr Mosseri said.