Parents can control what their teens do on Instagram ―always and when the minors have indicated their real age on the platform – starting next March, as announced on Tuesday by the director of the platform, Adam Mosseri, on the company's blog. Parental control will allow you to see how much time children spend on the social network and set daily time limits. In addition, the technology ensures that it will send notifications to its users while they are using the application so that they can take breaks.
Instagram, the social network of photographs owned by Meta – former Facebook – since 2012, has announced these new measures amid a huge reputational storm from which it does not quite come out. For months, the platform has been in the spotlight for the publication of internal documents in which the harmful effects that the network can cause on minors were recognized. Precisely to account for those damages of which the company was aware and did not make public (but which it revealed The Wall Street Journal in September), Mosseri will appear this Wednesday as a witness before the Subcommittee on Consumer Protection of the US Senate.
Parents can set time limits of 30 or 45 minutes or one, two or three hours, but the possibility of deactivating them will always be available. They will also have the option of seeing the time that the children have invested in the application over the course of a week, and a daily average. Until now, any user could see in hours and minutes the time that had spent in the application during the last seven days (in the profile> menu> your activity> time) and schedule a reminder to be aware that it had exceeded the minutes or hours established as a limit; but it was a form of self-control. The difference is that with the new measures, parents will externally control their children, in a similar way as YouTube allows in its Kids version.
Although these new features are intended for teenagers, some of the features that are going to be implemented can be used by all users regardless of their age. One of them is the option to receive notifications that remind the netizen that he has been doing too long scroll , going down and down the infinite contents offered by the application. '' Do you want to take a break? '' Instagram will ask through a pop-up window. In addition, the user will be able to program rest reminders that jump every 10, 20 or 30 minutes. The platform will propose in those moments that the user take breaths, write what he is thinking, listen to music or do some pending task; advice that seems aimed at those with addictive problems with the application.
With the aim that users, especially minors of age, have more control over the trace they leave on the Internet, from January they will be able to eliminate their publications in a simpler way, the I like they have given and the comments they have written. Until now, these last two could only be deleted by searching for each specific publication, but as of March they will be able to see all their interactions in a linear way on the same screen. They can, for example, delete several photos or videos at the same time, while during these years they had to do it one by one. Mosseri explained: “I think this tool is particularly important so that adolescents can fully understand what information they have shared and what others can see, as well as having an easier way to manage their fingerprint.” In the menu that Instagram prepares to manage the account, there will also be an option to review the changes that have been made to the account since it was created and another to delete the search history.
There's an important discussion happening right now about keeping young people safe online. I've been thinking a lot about how Instagram shows up, and I'm looking forward to sharing more of the work we're doing in the weeks ahead 🙏🏼 pic.twitter.com/dLQNDh6G34
– Adam Mosseri (@mosseri) November 24, 2021
This same year, Instagram has begun to configure the accounts of minors as private when they registered in the application (although kids could change the setting later), but Instagram aims to go a step further to protect not just teens' mental health, but their safety. For the second, as of 2022, adults who are not followed by minors will not be able to send them private messages. They will also not be able to tag minors or mention them in publications, if children do not follow them.
'' We continue to develop innovative solutions to verify the age of users on Instagram, '' Mosseri said in the same statement. The minimum age to use the application is 13 years old, but the minor can easily falsify their date of birth. According to Meta, both on Facebook and Instagram the company uses artificial intelligence to verify the age of users. For example, it examines the birthday greetings that the user in question receives to see if the age mentioned by others is the same as that contained in their account, and also contrasts it with other profiles that they have linked, such as, for example, from Facebook . The success of the new measures will also depend on the effectiveness of these methods, beyond the control of the parents.
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