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Facebook parental controls
© Prudencio Alvarez |
Social media

Have kids in the family? New way to see who they’re talking to and what they’re looking at

Social media has come under fire for its invasive privacy practices. Among the biggest culprits is Meta, the parent company for Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook recently rolled out new privacy settings to keep you informed of how you’re being tracked while also giving you options to limit tracking. Some of those settings have been making their way to Instagram. Tap or click here to rein in Instagram’s hold on your data.

The harmful effects of social media on young people are clear. The more time they spend on these platforms, the more exposed they are to bullying, dangerous trends, scams and predators. In response to public outcry, Meta added new controls to help parents regulate and monitor their children’s activity on Instagram.

Keep an eye on your kids

You have to be 13 or older to use Instagram or Facebook, but that’s not enough for Meta. Last year, Mark Zuckerberg told Congress that his company plans to build a version of Instagram for children under 13.

A petition was started to stop the development of the new platform, and it currently has more than 200,000 signatures. Zuckerberg’s plan has since been put on hold for what we hope will be indefinite. Tap or click here to add your name to the list.

On Tuesday, Meta announced new supervision tools to give parents better insight into what their children are doing on Instagram. The language indicates that it’s all being done for the safety of teenage users, but we all know that kids under 13 are using social media.

Here’s a breakdown of the new controls:

  • Parents can send invitations to their teens to initiate supervision tools. Up to now, this only worked the other way around.
  • Parents can set specific times during the day or week to limit their teen’s use of Instagram.
  • If a teen reports an account or post, parents can see more information such as who or what was reported and why.

In addition to the new controls, teens will get “nudges” to switch to a new topic when they’re repeatedly viewing the same type of content on Explore. Meta says the nudge is “designed to encourage teens to discover something new and excludes certain topics that may be associated with appearance comparison.”

Meta is also building on the Take a Break feature, which launched last year. If someone scrolls for a certain amount of time, they’re asked to take a break from Instagram.

Go to the Family Center at to send your teen an invite for supervision.

Even with all these changes, just being on social media is harmful to young people’s emotional and mental development. Tap or click here to check out a study showing which age group is the most vulnerable.

VR gets some new controls

Meta is also rolling out parental supervision tools to all Quest headsets. Here are some changes you’ll find in the Parent Dashboard:

  • Parents can approve their teen’s downloads and app purchases.
  • Teens can submit an “Ask to Buy” request, which will send a notification to their parents.
  • Apps that may be inappropriate for teens will be blocked.
  • Parents can view all the apps that their teen owns.
  • Parents will receive “Purchase notifications” when their teen makes a purchase in VR.
  • Parents can view headset screen time from the Oculus mobile app.
  • Parents can view their teen’s list of Oculus plans.

NOTE: Teens must initiate the process to link accounts and both the parent and teen must agree to the terms.

Keep reading

How to change privacy settings on Instagram

Instagram wants to know this private detail or you have to give up the app

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