Meta strengthens online safety with stricter measures for teens on Facebook and Instagram



In a significant move to enhance the online safety of teens, Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, is rolling out new protections aimed at providing age-appropriate experiences on its platforms. With a focus on content policies for teens, the company has collaborated with experts in adolescent development, psychology, and mental health to better understand the nuances of age-appropriate content.
What has changed
One key change involves addressing sensitive topics such as self-harm. While acknowledging the importance of these stories, Meta recognizes their complexity and potential inappropriateness for all young audiences. Consequently, the company will start removing content related to self-harm and other age-inappropriate material from teens’ experiences on Instagram and Facebook. This includes Feed and Stories, ensuring a more secure and age-appropriate environment.
Dr. Rachel Rodgers, Associate Professor at Northeastern University, emphasizes the evolution of Meta’s policies as a crucial step in creating safer spaces for teens on social media. The changes not only align with current understandings of teens’ safety and well-being but also present opportunities for parents to engage in meaningful conversations with their teens about navigating difficult topics.
Moreover, Meta mentioned that it remains committed to providing support by sharing resources from expert organisations like the National Alliance on Mental Illness when users post content related to struggles with self-harm or eating disorders. These changes are being gradually implemented for teens under 18, with full integration on Instagram and Facebook expected in the coming months.

To reinforce these protections, Meta is introducing updates to content recommendation settings, automatically placing teens in the most restrictive content control setting. This move, combined with

parental supervision tools, aims to give parents confidence that their teens are accessing age-appropriate content online.
Further measures include hiding search results related to suicide, self-harm, and eating disorders, making it more challenging for users to come across potentially sensitive content. Additionally, Meta will prompt teens to update their privacy settings regularly, encouraging a more private online experience with a single tap.
Vicki Shotbolt, CEO of ParentZone.org, underscores the significance of Meta’s new policies in providing parents with peace of mind regarding their teens’ online content consumption. By addressing content appropriateness and enhancing privacy settings, Meta seeks to create a safer digital space for teenagers while promoting open communication between parents and their children.




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