Instagram Rolls Out Much-Needed Parental Controls

Instagram finally rolled out its much-needed parental controls, which were announced in December 2021, in the US on Wednesday. The platform's head Adam Mosseri wrote on Meta's official blog that it has introduced the "first set" of supervision tools that allow parents and guardians to oversee their teens' Instagram experience and habits, from the accounts they follow to how much time they spend on the platform.

Instagram previously announced that it would be introducing parental controls after months of widespread criticism from parents, tech watchdogs, child privacy advocates, and lawmakers. Instagram for Kids had to be put on hold after internal research leaked out to The Wall Street Journal suggesting Instagram had a detrimental effect on teens' mental health, especially that of teenage girls, which Meta contested was inaccurate. Regardless, the company eventually developed a feature that nudged teens to take a break from Instagram after spending a certain amount of time scrolling through it.

Instagram's parental supervision tools

The parental supervision tools introduced in the US today, with other countries set to receive them in the coming months, give parents and guardians the ability to see how much time their teens spend on Instagram, set time limits, receive notifications when they report another user or a harmful post, and view and receive updates on what accounts they follow and which accounts follow them. Mosseri said teens will need to initiate the supervision feature from the Instagram app on mobile devices for now. Come June, Instagram will grant parents and guardians the ability to start the supervision process on both mobile and PC, but teens will still have to approve parental supervision if requested.

Instagram is working on features that would allow parents to set specific hours during which their teens can use Instagram and allow more than one parent to oversee the teen's account. The supervision features can be removed by parents or teens at any time and they automatically shut off once the teen turns 18. Instagram has also launched a hub called Family Center where parents and guardians can access supervision tools and educational resources across all of Meta's platforms, including advice articles, video tutorials, and tips on how to talk to teens about social media and the harmful content they come across.