Instagram has announced rollout of its parental supervision tools in India to help parents get more involved in their teens’ experiences on the photo-sharing platform, according to a statement.
The platform is also introducing a Family Center, a new place for parents and guardians to access supervision tools and resources from leading experts.
The move is another step from Meta to empower parents and keep young people safe online, Instagram’s statement said.
This initiative comes amid global concerns around the harmful effects of social media on young users, particularly related to body image issues and addictive nature of these apps.
“Meta has been working closely with experts, parents, guardians and young people from India, to understand the needs of parents and young people,” the statement said.
One of the biggest needs continues to be tools and resources to educate parents about digital services.
“This education would allow parents and guardians to help their teens manage their online experiences. With this context, Meta launched Parental Supervision Controls and a Family Center in the US in March this year, and is now rolling it out to India,” the statement added.
Natasha Jog, Head – Public Policy, Instagram, Facebook India (Meta), said safety of the community is of “paramount importance” for Meta.
“The supervision tools and the Family Center will add to our efforts on keeping young people safe. Our intention is to strike the right balance for young people’s desire for some autonomy when using Instagram, but also allows for supervision in a way that supports conversations between parents and young people when it is helpful,” Jog added.
The Supervision Tools on Instagram will allow parents and guardians to manage how much time young people spend on Instagram. It will help young users manage their time on Instagram by setting screen time limits and scheduling breaks during the day and week.
The tools would also allow parents to view what accounts their children follow and the accounts that follow them.
“Allows you to stay up to date with who your young person connects with on Instagram,” the statement said.
It would also enable parents to be notified when the young users in the family reports someone.
“Young people can choose to notify you if they make a report on Instagram, so you can discuss what happened together,” the statement added.
Meta will be working with Kidsstoppress.Com, India’s leading and trusted discovery platform for parenting needs, to engage with parents and spread awareness of the tools.
On Instagram, parents and guardians can send invitations to their teens to initiate supervision tools.
“Over the next few months we’ll roll out additional Supervision Tools and features in Family Centre,” the statement said.
Family Center includes a new education hub where parents and guardians can access resources from experts and review helpful articles, videos and tips on topics like how to talk to young people about social media. Parents can also watch video tutorials on how to use the new Supervision Tools to get the most out of the platform, the statement said.
Meta will be working with Yuvaa, a youth media and insights company, to drive awareness about these resources as well. The Center will be available in English and Hindi.
Big social media firms have drawn flak in the past over hate speech, instances of user harm, misinformation and fake news circulating on their platforms.
At times, concerns have also been flagged over digital platforms acting arbitrarily, while studies have also highlighted teen mental health effects arising from the social media phenomenon, particularly so from photo-sharing apps.
India brought in tougher IT rules last year, mandating large digital platforms (with over 50 lakh users) to publish compliance reports every month, mentioning the details of complaints received and action taken.
The government is also in the midst of formulating new social media norms that propose to give users a grievance appeal mechanism against arbitrary content moderation, inaction, or takedown decisions of big tech companies.