Instagram says parental controls will arrive in March
By David McCabe
Instagram will introduce its first parental controls in March as it faces pressure to do more to shield its young users from harmful content and keep them from overusing the product.
Adam Mosseri, head of the app inside Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, said in a blog post that parents would be able to see how long their teenage children have spent using Instagram and limit the amount of time they spend on the app. Teenagers will also be able to tell their parents if they have reported someone for a violation of Instagram’s policies.
“This is the first version of these tools; we’ll continue to add more options over time,” he said in the post.
Mosseri was scheduled to appear before a Senate committee Wednesday, and he is expected to field questions about whether social media harms children and teenagers. The app has been under new pressure since Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, leaked documents that showed the company was aware that Instagram makes teenage girls feel worse about themselves.
Mosseri said in the blog post that Instagram was developing a slate of other tweaks for child safety. Its users will no longer be able to tag or mention teenagers who don’t follow them. The app is also releasing a feature for all its users in January that will allow them to delete their posts, comments and likes in bulk.
It was not clear that Mosseri’s announcement would appease lawmakers. “Meta is attempting to shift attention from their mistakes by rolling out parental guides, use timers and content control features that consumers should have had all along,” said Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn. “But my colleagues and I see right through what they are doing.”
Instagram is among several major tech platforms that have explored changes to how children can use their products, in part because of new child safety guidelines in Britain. The app has said that it is considering asking some young users to go through a stricter process to prove how old they are but has not yet added those features.