Instagram has launched a range of new tools aimed at making the platform safer for teenage users.
The social media giant is launching a new Take a Break feature that allows people to set a limit on time spent on the app or request notifications encouraging them to take a break.
The platform is also taking a “stricter approach” to the type of content it recommends to teens and will actively nudge them towards different subjects if they have been “dwelling on one topic for a long time”.
People will also be prevented from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them.
On Newstalk Breakfast this morning, Newstalk Tech Correspondent Jess Kelly explained the new functions.
“The idea is that, when young people are on the platform, they will get notifications to pause their activity,” she said.
“You can set a daily limit in terms of how much time you can spend on the platform and also a notification will appear to allow you to take a ten-minute break, a 30-minute break or a 20-minute break just to try and reassess.
“They also say they are not going to continue pushing topics to young people. So, if a young person is on the platform and they are particularly infatuated with one stream of content or topic, Instagram won’t feed that topic to them.”
Instagram is also announcing its first tools to help parents and guardians get more involved in what their teens are doing on Instagram.
Parents will be able to see how long their children are spending in the platform and set time limits for them.
They will also be able to access a new ‘educational hub’ that will include product tutorials and tips from experts, to help parents discuss social media use with their teens.
“The parental hub will let parents see how much time their child is spending on the platform,” said Jess.
“Also, if the child blocks someone on the platform, the parent will get a notification – again just giving parents that element of control so they can have a conversation with the child and hopefully deal with it in a meaningful way.”
She said the changes appear to be a “direct response” to some of the claims put forward by Facebook whistle-blower Frances Haugen in October.
Ms Haugen, a former product manager at the company, told the US Senate that Facebook products, including Instagram, "harm children, stoke division and weaken our democracy".
“It seems to me this is very much a direct response to some of the claims we heard from the whistle-blower earlier this year,” said Jess.
“I think it is a good move. I don’t think it is the perfect solution, but I do think it is Instagram recognising there is more they can do.”
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