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Instagram now gives parents control over kids’ social media experience

Instagram now gives parents control over kids’ social media experience
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NEW DELHI: After unveiling last December and then rolling out in the US in March, Instagram’s parental controls for parents of underage social media users are finally here. The set of settings, called Parental Controls, provides controls that parents can customize to see the kind of Internet experiences their children are exposed to.

The platform owned by Meta has also launched Family Center, an “education center” that provides parents with access to expert guidance on how to tackle issues such as exam-related stress and mental health.

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Under parental controls, parents can control how much time their kids can spend on Instagram each day, as well as mandate breaks between each day and week when they can’t access the service. Parents would also be able to see who is following their children and who is following them back. Furthermore, they would also be notified when their children report an account.

The move comes after lawmakers around the world signaled concerns around minors’ use of social media platforms and how children’s data could be misused for targeted advertising and other related purposes. In July last year, the National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child, a legal body under the Ministry of Women’s and Child Development, said in a survey that despite requiring users to be at least 13 years old, the social platforms from Meta — Facebook and Instagram — had a significant number of users around the age of 10.

The report found that nearly one in four 10-year-old internet users in the country had an Instagram account, and called for measures to regulate access to social media services for such underage users.

In July last year, Karina Newton, former head of public policy at Instagram, announced a move that seemingly limited the amount of data advertisers could collect and use to deliver targeted content to users under the age of 16. Accounts owned by such users were also converted to private by default, requiring them to physically approve every follower on their social profiles.

Instagram also confirmed at the time that posts from users under the age of 16 would not appear in the app’s content discovery feed.

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