Instagram unveils new support tools for parents, teenagers

Tools will help teens manage online time

A screenshot of an alert from Instagram demonstrating the new parental supervision tools

Instagram is extending its parental supervision tools to users in Ireland, allowing parents and guardian to set limits for daily use, schedule breaks and supervise activity on the app.

The tools, which were first launched in the US, will be available from June 30th in Ireland, the UK, Japan, Australia, Canada, France and Germany, and there are plans to make it available globally before the end of 2022.

The social media service will also test a new nudge feature in Ireland and the UK that will prompt teen users to switch topic if they have been viewing the same type of content through the “explore” feature, encouraging better use of their time online.

Once set up, parents will be able to see more details on accounts and posts that their child reports, and set times of day or week when use of Instagram should be limited.


Instagram will also roll out globally similar supervision tools for virtual reality environments, with parents now able to supervise activity on all Quest headsets including approving app purchases based on age ratings, block inappropriate apps, view friends on Oculus and monitor screen time.

The new tools will also give parents the opportunity to block younger users from accessing content from their PC on their Quest headset.

But parents won’t be able to simply activate the tools without their child’s knowledge; the process requires the teenage user to agree to the process before the supervision tools are put in place. Instagram now allows parents to send invitations to their teens to initiate supervision tools, a change from before when the process had to be initiated by the younger user.

The nudge feature is designed to steer teenagers away from certain types of content, Instagram said.

“This nudge is designed to encourage teens to discover something new and excludes certain topics that may be associated with appearance comparison,” Instagram said in a blog post.

“We designed this new feature because research suggests that nudges can be effective for helping people — especially teens — be more mindful of how they’re using social media in the moment. In a study on the effects of nudges on social media use, 58.2 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that nudges made their social media experience better by helping them become more mindful of their time on-platform.”

Another feature, Take a Break, which encourages people to step away from the screen will also be launched for Reels, with tests being conducted in Ireland, along with the UK, the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. Instagram has signed up young creators on its platform to share their tips for taking a break from social media.

Instagram is also building out its Family Center education hub with articles from organisations such as ParentZone, Media Smarts and Cyberbullying Research Center, with tips on how to talk to teens about important online topics such.

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien

Ciara O'Brien is an Irish Times business and technology journalist