Experts have pointed out a number of difficulties in the new features.
WASHINGTON – The parent company of Instagram and Facebook, Meta is adding several new parental monitoring tools and privacy features to its platform as social media companies face scrutiny. increasing observation of their impact on youth mental health.
But many features require minors — and their parents — to opt-in, raising questions about how effective these measures are. For example, Instagram will now send out notifications to teens after they block someone, encouraging them to let their parents “monitor” their accounts. The idea is to get children’s attention when they can be more open to parental guidance.
If a teen chooses to participate, system will allow parents to set time limits, see who their kids follow or are followed by, and allow them to track the amount of time minors spend on Instagram. It does not let parents see the content of the message.
Instagram Launch of parental monitoring tool last year to help families navigate the platform and find resources and guidance. One hitch in this process is that kids need to sign up if they want their parents to monitor their accounts. It’s unclear how many teen users opted in, and Meta did not reveal any numbers.
Such monitoring allows parents to know how many friends their child has in common with the accounts the child follows or is followed. So, if a child is being followed by someone that none of their friends are following, it could raise a warning sign that the child doesn’t know that person in real life.
This “will help parents understand their child’s level of understanding of these accounts and help foster offline conversations about those connections,” says Meta.
Meta is also adding parental monitoring tools already available on Instagram and its virtual reality product to Messenger. Opt-in allows parents to see how much time their kids spend on messaging services and information such as their contact list and privacy settings — but not who they’re talking to, such as.
Such features can be useful to families where parents are already involved in their child’s online life and activities. Experts say that’s not a reality for many people.
Last month, US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy warned that there was not enough evidence to back that up. social media safe for children and young people, and called on tech companies to take “immediate action to protect children now”.
Murthy told The Associated Press that while he recognizes that social media companies have taken some steps to make their platforms more secure, those actions have not been enough. For instance, while children under 13 are technically banned from using social media, many younger children access Instagram, TikTok and other apps by lying about their age, with or without with parental permission.
Murthy also says it’s unfair to expect parents to control what their kids do with rapidly evolving technology, which “fundamentally changes the way their kids think about themselves, the way they build friendships.” , how they experience the world – and by the way, technology has changed the previous generation”. never had to manage,
“We’re putting all of that on the shoulders of parents, which is simply not fair,” Murthy said.
Also starting Tuesday, Meta will encourage — but not force — children to stop using Facebook, just as it did on Instagram. After 20 minutes, the teen user will receive a notification to stop using the app. If they want to continue scrolling, they simply close the notification. TikTok also recently introduced a 60 minutes time limit intended for users under 18, but they can get around it by entering a passcode set by the teen themselves, or if the child is under 13, set by a parent.
“What we are focusing on is a set of tools to help parents and teens with how they can have their lives,” said Diana Williams, product changes supervisor for teens and families at Meta. can best participate in a safe and appropriate online experience. “We are also trying to build tools that teenagers can use on their own to learn to manage and realize how they spend their time. So things like ‘breaks’ and ‘silent mode’ in the evening.”