Instagram is getting ‘parental supervision’ features

Meta is introducing new “parental supervision” features for Instagram and virtual reality. The update will be available first for Instagram, which has faced a wave of scrutiny for its impact on teens and children, with new parental controls coming to Quest headsets over the next few months.

On Instagram, the controls will be part of a new “Family Center,” where parents can set time limits and access information about their teen’s activity on the app. For now, parents will be able to see a list of accounts their teen is following, as well as which accounts follow them. Parents will also be notified if their teen reports another user.

Notably, the update is for now only available in the United States and parents will only be able to access the parental control features if the teens “initiate supervision” within the app themselves. Teens will also need to approve any parental requests for parental supervision. “Over the next few months we’ll add additional features, including letting parents set the hours during which their teen can use Instagram, and the ability for more than one parent to supervise a teen’s account,” Instagram Head Adam Mosseri writes in a blog post.

Instagram

The new features, which were first promised back in December, arrive after Instagram was forced to “pause” work on a dedicated app for kids younger than 13 after a whistleblower disclosed internal research documenting Instagram’s impact on teens’ mental health. The disclosures prompted lawmakers to push Meta to end work on Instagram Kids entirely. So far, Meta executives have declined to do so.

Mosseri said the company also plans to add similar parental control features to its Quest headsets so parents can also set limits on their children’s activities in virtual reality. Those features, which won’t launch for a few more months, will enable parents to restrict VR content rated for ages 13 and up and set other limits on VR purchases. Meta is also working on a “Parent Dashboard” for the Oculus app so parents can keep tabs on what their children are watching and how much time they are spending in VR.

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