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Instagram and Facebook get new parental control tools

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  • 2 min read
Photo by mundissima /

Photo by mundissima /

Meta has announced new parental controls for Instagram, Facebook and Messenger that aim to limit teen interaction with strangers and give parents a way to monitor just how much time their kids are spending on social media platforms and nudge the teens to take a break from scrolling. 

These controls will be available in the Meta Family Center and are rolling out first to the US, UK and Canada. As for Messenger, the added controls let guardians see their kids’ privacy and safety settings, any changes in the Messenger contact list, and how much time they’ve spent on the app.

The guardians can also get a notification if a child under their care reports someone, although the setting has to be enabled by the child first. Other settings include who can message their kids and view their stories — whether friends, friends of friends or no one. If any of these settings are changed, the guardian is notified. 

Not to be left behind, Meta has started sending notifications to teens on Instagram to let their parents or guardians supervise their accounts. Parents can now view mutuals for accounts that a teen follows or those that follow them. To prevent extended usage, Instagram is now testing a “take a break” feature that tells users to take a break after using the app for a certain period. 

This feature is now extended to Facebook, asking users to take a break every 20 minutes. Teens that spend the entire night scrolling through reels will not like this, as Instagram will now essentially shut them out of the app at night, although they can dismiss the notification and keep going on if they like. 

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Yadullah Abidi

Yadullah is a Computer Science graduate who writes/edits/shoots/codes all things cybersecurity, gaming, and tech hardware. When he's not, he streams himself racing virtual cars. He's been writing and reporting on tech and cybersecurity with websites like Candid.Technology and MakeUseOf since 2018. You can contact him here: [email protected].