Meta, the parent company of popular social media platforms Facebook and Instagram, has introduced new features aimed at enhancing safety measures for teenagers on its platforms. These measures come as part of Meta’s ongoing efforts to protect young users from unwanted interactions and ensure a safer online environment.
The new policy builds upon Meta’s existing restrictions, which previously prevented individuals above the age of 19 from messaging teenagers who did not follow them. Now, Meta has implemented additional measures to further safeguard teenagers.
One significant change is the default setting that disables teenagers’ ability to receive direct messages (DMs) from individuals they do not follow or have no connection with on Instagram, including other teenagers. This default setting aims to limit unwanted contact and provides teenagers and their parents with greater confidence in their online interactions.
Moreover, Meta has enhanced parental controls, enabling guardians to approve or deny any changes in default privacy settings made by teenagers. Previously, while guardians received notifications about these settings changes, they lacked the ability to take action. Now, they have greater control over their teenagers’ online privacy.
In a statement announcing these updates, Meta emphasized its commitment to protecting teenagers from unwanted contact and ensuring a safer digital environment. These changes will apply to teenagers under the age of 16 (or under 18 in certain regions) and will be implemented as default settings across Meta’s platforms.
Furthermore, Meta is extending these default settings to Messenger, where teenagers under 16 (or under 18 in certain countries) will only receive messages from Facebook friends or individuals in their phone contacts.
This initiative follows Meta’s introduction of parental supervision features on Instagram in March 2022. Since then, Meta has continuously introduced new tools to empower parents to engage more actively in their teenagers’ online activities. These features include setting time limits, scheduling breaks, monitoring block actions and reports, and receiving notifications about settings changes.
Meta’s commitment to enhancing safety measures underscores its dedication to creating a positive and secure online environment for teenagers and their families.