Social media sites are restricting the distribution of malicious content, but people still find ways around these restrictions. This is leading to an increase in exposure for young teenagers who come across this type of content online via other platforms or links shared among friends on messaging apps like Facebook, Messenger, or Instagram.
Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram has just launched parental controls on the latter app to create a safer online experience for teens.
These new features are designed to provide more security for children and teenagers. Parents can set daily time limits and request that they be supervisors.
Instagram is doing everything they can to make sure teens aren’t endlessly exploring the same types of content on their platform. With “nudges”, Instagram hopes that it will encourage more exploration and discovery by giving interested users new things worth looking at when searching for certain topics online
The “nudge” feature provides guidance in forms like encouraging people not necessarily subscribe but explore instead; providing points-of interest outside one’s usual bubble (such as videos from musicians whose styles differ greatly); reminding them about hashtags related similar interests
“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,” Meta said in a blog post. “In an external study on the effects of nudges on social media use, 58.2% 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.”
Many experts are excited about the new policies, which they say will help protect youth on Instagram. However there is still room for improvement in terms of features and limitations with this app that pre-teens have access to.
Platforms have a responsibility to their users. Assistant professor Priya Kumar from Pennsylvania State University’s College of Information Sciences and Technology stresses the importance for platforms, such as Facebook, to take care when it comes down to creating content because they are ultimately responsible for the effects of services and products.
“Developing features to help teens and other people manage their use of the app is helpful,” she shared. “But the features on their own, of course, aren’t going to resolve these complex issues.”
Stevie Chancellor, assistant professor in computer science of engineering of the University of Minnesota, said that she supports parents being given more power on Instagram.
With the help of Meta, young creators will be able to share more inspirational content on Instagram. They’ll also receive guidance from experts who can educate them about creating responsible online personalities and promoting their work effectively through social media channels.
Opinions expressed by NY Weekly contributors are their own.