Meta Unveils Instagram Parental Supervision Tools


Meta Platforms has instituted parental supervision tools for Instagram in response to criticisms that the photo sharing app was harmful to young users.

The new tools, announced on the company blog Wednesday (March 16), are part of what Meta calls its Family Center, which also includes an education hub to help parents talk with their teenagers about social media.

Meta said it wants to eventually expand the center unto a platform where parents can keep an eye on their children’s social media activity across all of its apps.

The supervision tools on Instagram are available for users in the U.S., with plans to go worldwide in the coming months. These tools allow parents and guardians view how much time their kids spend using Instagram and impose limits. In addition, parents can get notified when their teen shares that they’ve reported another user, and get updates about the accounts their children follow and are followed by.

See also: Instagram Moves to Head Off Criticism, Debuting Teen Protections Prior to Senate Hearing

However, the changes don’t automatically allow parents to begin monitoring their kids. Meta said teens will need to approve parental supervision if their parent or guardian requests it.

“Parents and guardians know what’s best for their teens, and in December I committed to developing new supervision tools that allow them to be more involved in their teens’ experiences,” Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, wrote on the blog.

That pledge came after a whistleblower revealed last year that Instagram and parent Meta knew certain Instagram content could be problematic — particularly for teenage girls, causing worsening issues of body dysmorphia and even suicidal ideation — and valued profits over user safety.

Mosseri made his commitment before testifying before the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety and Data Security, chaired by Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

The Connecticut Democrat had made news months earlier after he reported his office had set up a fake Instagram account posing as a teenager girl.

“Within a day, its recommendations were exclusively filled with accounts that promote self-injury and eating disorders,” Blumenthal said. “That is the perfect storm that Instagram has fostered and created.”