On Tuesday, Meta began rolling out new parental control tools across its suite of social apps, including the ability for parents to see how their teen uses Messenger, a feature that blocks unwanted DMs and a reminder for teens to take a break on Facebook.
Meta’s “first set of parental supervision tools” on Messenger will not grant parents and guardians access to their teen's actual messages, but will allow them to view how much their teen spends on Messenger and receive updates on their teen's contact list and privacy settings.
They will be notified if their teen reports someone, view who can message their teen as well as who can see their teen's stories.
“Over the next year, we'll add more features to Parental Supervision on Messenger so parents can help their teens better manage their time and interactions, while still balancing their privacy as these tools function in both unencrypted and end-to-end encrypted chats,” the company explained in a blog post.
Messenger supervision controls are available in the Family Center, which Meta said it is trying to establish as a “central place” where parents and guardians can find resources and tools.
On Instagram, Meta is looking to protect teens from unwanted interactions by making it mandatory for anyone wishing to message a teen to first send an invite to connect. The invites will be text-only to cut down on the sharing of unwanted media from strangers.
In addition, Meta is encouraging teens to add their parents to supervise their Instagram account “as an extra layer of support” via a notice after they've blocked someone. According to Meta, the notice, which teens have the choice to ignore, is an attempt to “remind them how they can benefit from parental guidance.”
Parents will also be able to see how many friends their teen has in common with the accounts they follow and are followed by in order to better understand how well their teen knows the accounts.
Furthermore, on Facebook, teens will soon see a notification when they have spent 20 minutes on the platform, “prompting them to take time away from the app and set daily time limits.” Meta said that it is exploring a similar “nudge” on Instagram that will suggest teens close the app if they are scrolling Reels at night.