Facebook and Instagram developing tools to help teens manage their time on apps

Company has also announced new parental supervision tools on Messenger

Meta apps include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and other services. AFP
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Meta is developing a new set of tools to help teens manage their time on Facebook and Instagram to better regulate the use of the social media platforms by its younger users.

The company said it will soon roll out a new feature that will send teens a notification when they have spent 20 minutes on Facebook, prompting them to take time away from the app and set daily time limits.

It is also exploring a new nudge on Instagram that will suggest teens close the app if they are scrolling Reels (short videos on Instagram) at night.

The new updates are “designed to help teens feel in control of their online experiences", Meta said.

Meta’s apps include Facebook, Instagram, Messenger, WhatsApp and other services.

The California-based company said it is working on various new features to help people stay focussed and to encourage them to set boundaries with their friends and followers.

In January, it introduced quiet mode on Instagram, where users will not receive any notifications and their profile’s activity status will change to let people know they are in quiet mode. The app will automatically send an auto-reply when someone sends users a direct message.

In 2021, it rolled out the take-a-break feature on Instagram that helps users to make "informed decisions" about how they are spending their time. If someone has been scrolling for a certain amount of time, the app will ask them to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future.

Facebook questioned in US Senate over reports of Instagram being 'toxic' to teens

Facebook questioned in US Senate over reports of Instagram being 'toxic' to teens

Meta has also announced new parental supervision tools on its instant messaging app, Messenger.

They aim to let parents see how their teens use Messenger and how much time they are spending on the app.

However, these tools do not allow parents to read their teen’s messages.

Parents can also view and receive updates on their teen’s Messenger contacts list, as well as their teen’s privacy and safety settings.

They can view who can message their teen, who can see their teen’s Messenger stories and get notified if these settings change.

“We will continue to collaborate with parents and experts to develop additional features that support teens and their families,” Meta said.

In March, TikTok also announced new features including a default daily 60-minute limit for users under the age of 18 in an effort to lessen the app's addictive effects.

Younger users will be required to enter a password if they want to binge social videos for more than an hour at one time, the company said at the time.

Updated: June 28, 2023, 3:09 PM