Instagram is rolling out new tools that it says will give parents and guardians more control over how their kids use social media and virtual reality. Facebook has taken a lot of heat in the past for doing little to mitigate the negative impacts of Instagram on teens and young people. Earlier studies have also highlighted links between Instagram usage patterns and issues such as depression and lower self-esteem, although the company hasn’t acted on it as swiftly or as decisively as expected.

With social media becoming increasingly more popular among children, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube are becoming staples for kids. However, while keeping a tab on very young kids is relatively easier, it is much more difficult to do with older children, including adolescents and teens, due to the lack of proper tools. With its latest update, Instagram believes that parents and guardians will now have more control over how their kids use the platform.

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Instagram is rolling out new tools that will enable parents to monitor and limit their kids’ usage of the app. In a blog post announcing the new features, Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri said that they will be part of the company’s ‘Family Center’ hub, which was developed in association with parents, guardians, teens, and experts. According to Mosseri, the new tools will help parents see how much time their kids are spending on the app and set limits. As part of the deal, parents would also be updated on what accounts their kids follow and which accounts follow their kids. The new tools are available for parents and guardians in the United States with immediate effect, and will roll out globally in the coming months.

Parents Will Need Permission From Their Kids

While the new ‘Supervision Tools’ are expected to help parents keep a track on their kids’ activity on Instagram, they will only work if the kid grants permission for the parental supervision. According to the blog post, “Teens will need to initiate supervision for now in the app on mobile devices,” although the option for parents to initiate supervision will be added to the app and the website in June. However, even then, parents will only be able to “request” supervision, and the kids will still need to approve those requests before parents are able to supervise them. The company also says that parents will eventually also be able to set schedules for Instagram use, which means they’ll be able to block the app after bedtime or during dinner, for example.

The Parental Supervision function will also be expanded to Quest VR headsets, starting next month. This will help parents and guardians prevent children from accessing content that they feel is inappropriate. The company will also start blocking kids from downloading “age-inappropriate apps” starting May, while a ‘Parent Dashboard’ will also be launched with a number of supervision tools. However, just like on Instagram, this will also require consent from the kids before parents can supervise them.