To mark Safer Internet Day, Meta reminded teens of the tools available to help keep them safe on our platforms, resources available for parents and guardians on the Family Centre, and trainings available like My Digital World which provides accessible learning modules and resources to build skills for a digital world.
Helping Teens Focus and Set Boundaries
Meta wants young people to foster their online relationships in an environment where they feel safe. Meta doesn’t allow harmful content, or content or behavior that exploits young people. They work closely with experts in mental health, child psychology, digital literacy and more, to build features and tools so people can connect online safely and responsibly.
Meta has made huge strides in this space over the past year, including defaulting teens into more private settings at sign up, helping to protect teens against unwanted interactions from adults who don’t follow them, and offering tools for teens to spend more meaningful time online with features like ‘Take a Break’ and ‘Nudges’ that encourage teens to both spend time away from Instagram and explore different topics while on Instagram. Meta is removing more content that violates its policies and making potentially sensitive content more difficult to find.
Tips for teens
- Build positive online habits with features like ‘Take a Break’ – spend more meaningful time online using features like ‘Take a Break’ and ‘Nudges’ that encourage you to both spend time away from Instagram and explore different topics while on Instagram.
- Control what you see on Explore in settings – you can now choose to hide multiple pieces of content in Explore that you are not interested in.
- Prevent potentially offensive comments with ‘Hidden words’ – a tool which, when turned on, will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases and emojis, so you never have to see them.
- Protect your account and turn on two-factor authentication – One of the most important things you can do to protect your account is turn on two-factor authentication.
Meta is committed to supporting parents and guardians. They recently launched its Family Center, which has educational resources from leading youth and safety, privacy and well-being experts on how to have conversations with your teens about healthy and safe online habits.
Meta has also been developing parental controls that help parents and teens navigate their time online together (designed to strike the right balance between giving parents oversight, while preserving teens’ privacy and autonomy, and encouraging offline conversations about online habits). These tools allow parents and guardians to:
- see who their teen follows and who follows them;
- see when their teen shares they’ve reported or blocked someone;
- see when their teen changes any of the default privacy settings; and
- see how much time their teen is spending on Instagram, set daily limits and schedule breaks when they don’t want their teen to be using the app.
Meta’s vision for the Family Center is to eventually allow parents and guardians to help their teens manage experiences across Meta technologies, all from one central place.
In the meantime, here are some tips parents and guardians to get the conversation started:
- Take the time to talk to your teen about what they get up to online
- Use open-ended questions to start conversations about what your teen enjoys online
- Choose your moment and talk to them when you’re doing something together
- Share your own experiences and talk about your online life
- Be open and ensure your teen knows they can speak to you about any issues