December 22, 2021

How Will Instagram’s New Parental Controls Better Protect Students?

Students are way ahead of the curve when it comes to trends on social media and technology. But they are often in the dark when it comes to the risks of being online.  So we love to hear about social media companies working to empower students to navigate their platforms safely. 

One such platform is Instagram, who recently announced that they will be introducing new parental controls in March. These controls will be used to prevent young people from spending too much time on the app and shield them from harmful content. 

Instagram’s new safety features

In a recent blog post, Adam Mosseri, the head of Instagram, shared that these new controls will allow parents to see how much time students are spending online and that they will also be able to limit the time spent. 

Mosseri wrote that these new features are meant “to meaningfully improve the experience on Instagram for teens, parents, and guardians.”

We’ve all been there before, stuck in a black hole of endless scrolling on a topic we find particularly interesting. While curiosity isn’t bad, forgetting to take a break from our screens or explore other areas of interest can be harmful.  So, in an attempt to mix it up, “Instagram will be nudging users towards different topics if they’ve been dwelling on one topic for a long time.”

Other safety features include a student’s ability to tell an adult when they have reported someone for a violation, the inability for strangers to tag or mention students who don’t follow them, and the ability for users to delete posts and comments in bulk. 

What does Instagram’s new parental controls mean for students? 

With new features like ‘Take A Break,’ which notifies users when they’ve been scrolling for a long time, and nudging them towards new topics, students will be empowered to spend time with their friends, explore new areas of interest, and express themselves safely.

After a year filled with controversy, Meta, Instagram’s parent company, is working to change its narrative and explore ways students can use their platforms more positively. 

In the announcement, Mosseri shared, “Meta is attempting to shift attention from their mistakes by rolling out parental guides, use timers and content control features that consumers should have had all along.” 

Mosseri appeared in front of the Senate committee in early December to answer questions regarding social media and how it impacts students. During the conference, Mosseri shared that Instagram does more good than harm and that the app plays a significant and positive role in students’ lives. 

 “I recognize that many in this room have deep reservations about our company,” Mosseri said. “But I want to assure you that we do have the same goal. We all want teens to be safe online.”

Here at The Social Institute we want the same thing and are on a mission to empower students to be safe online and use social media positively. We’re thrilled to see Instagram taking the necessary steps to make its platform a safer place where students feel confident to be their most authentic selves. 

If you are looking for more ways to ensure social media is a healthy, happy, and safe space for students, check out this article. For more information about how schools are empowering students to navigate social media and make healthy, high-character decisions, request a conversation.

About The Social Institute

The Social Institute partners with schools nationwide to empower students, families, and educators to navigate social-emotional health, social media, and technology positively. Schools access our student-respected, turnkey curriculum through, an interactive, gamified learning platform. With solutions for students, parents, and educators, we offer a systemic and comprehensive SEL program through a unique and positive approach. We are proud to serve public and independent partners such as Ravenscroft School, Woodward Academy, Oldfields School, All Saints Episcopal School, Lake Forest School District, Boston Public Schools, and more. For more information on how to empower your students to make high-character decisions online and off, please contact us.