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What Are the Latest Protections for Teens on the Internet?

META's commendable efforts include over 30 tools and resources, enhanced content controls, and expert consultations to create safer online experiences for teenagers on Instagram and Facebook.
sad teen guy looking at phone, social media

I have written many concerns about the impact of the internet and social media as it affects our teenagers. Most of the impact has been considered negative. However, when I see positive steps being taken to protect our young viewers I also want to acknowledge those good attempts. This are some recent developments by META.

In a quote from META they state:

We want teens to have safe, age-appropriate experiences on our apps. We’ve developed more than 30 tools and resources to support teens and their parents, and we’ve spent over a decade developing policies and technology to address content that breaks our rules or could be seen as sensitive. Today, we’re announcing additional protections that are focused on the types of content teens see on Instagram and Facebook.

I want to commend this work and express my great appreciation for their conscientiousness and research. They have consulted with child development experts and are now taking vital steps for teenagers to have safer experiences on the apps.

Another quote from one of those experts, Dr. Rachel Rodgers, Associate Professor of Applied Psychology at Northwestern University is as follows:

Meta is evolving its policies around content that could be more sensitive for teens, which is an important step in making social media platforms spaces where teens can connect and be creative in age-appropriate ways. These policies reflect current understandings and expert guidance regarding teen’s safety and well-being. As these changes unfold, they provide good opportunities for parents to talk with their teens about how to navigate difficult topics.

Their intended outcomes are as follows:

  1. They will start to hide more types of content for teens on Instagram and Facebook, in line with expert guidance.
  2. They are automatically placing all teens into the most restrictive content control settings on Instagram and Facebook and restricting additional terms in Search on Instagram.
  3. They are also prompting teens to update their privacy settings on Instagram in a single tap with new notifications.

This is just the beginning, but a vital one I hope will lead to more protection, caution, appropriateness, safety, and creativity for our teenagers who are so impacted by apps and social media platforms that could be harmful and destructive.

I’m encouraged about these efforts and want to affirm and support them. These steps can lead positively to help our teenagers have a more positive and useful experience in how they’re using these tools for various aspects of their lives.

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