Because in case you missed it, Instagram recently announced new measures to keep young people safer on Instagram.
The move’s in response to increasing concerns about online safety and calls for social media apps to do more to protect young people online.
Of the 89% of Gen Zs who use Instagram, a staggering one in four young people we surveyed for our What Gen Z Actually Do Online report said they’ve been bullied or harassed on Instagram.
And almost half (48%) said they feel addicted to social media, leading to declines in mental health and wellbeing.
A 16-year-old male from Victoria told us how they love Instagram for the “world of knowledge and creativity” they have access to, which was particularly vital while struggling through the pandemic.
“However, there is also a negative side to the online world,” he said.
“Fake news is being spread everywhere and can have huge implications on anyone’s life. And unfortunately, more and more young people are taking their life due to online bullying and harassment.
“So, the online world can be a world of creation for young people alike, but can also affect many young people in the worst way.”
Another 18-year-old male from Victoria praised social media apps like Instagram for helping young people stay connected with each other.
“The positives (of using social media like Instagram) would definitely have to be how connected we are and the opportunities we are afforded as part of a more online world and also the ability to be connected with family and friends wherever, whenever,” he said.
“(But there are) negatives for sure – the pressure of putting yourself out there on Instagram and Facebook etc. as well as the impact body standards and the like can have on mental health as well as bullying/feeling inferior or pressured to present yourself in a certain way.”
So what’s Instagram doing to help keep young people safer on Instagram?
New tools for teens target mental health, cyber safety
First off, the new ‘Take a Break’ feature is addressed at users’ mental wellbeing and designed to “empower people to make informed decisions about how they’re spending their time,” wrote Adam Mosseri, Head of Instagram.
“If someone has been scrolling for a certain amount of time, we’ll ask them to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future. We’ll also show them expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset.”
But that’s not all. Gen Zs favourite social media app is implementing additional safety features to:
- Prevent people from tagging or mentioning teens that don’t follow them
- Restrict what Instagram recommends to teens in Search, Explore, Hashtags and Suggested Accounts
- And nudge teens towards different topics if they’ve been dwelling on one topic for a while
“We know that as teens grow up, they want more control over how they show up both online and offline so, for the first time, they will be able to bulk delete content they’ve posted like photos and videos, as well as their previous likes and comments.”
Involving parents and guardians
Don’t worry, parents and guardians – Instagram hasn’t forgotten you.
In fact, the social media platform has designed several tools to help you feel more involved with your teen’s Instagram experience.
You’ll be able to view how much time your teen/s spend on Instagram, set time limits, and give your teen/s a new option to notify you if they report someone – opening up an opportunity for you to discuss it with them.
“We’re also developing a new educational hub for parents and guardians that will include additional resources, like product tutorials and tips from experts, to help them discuss social media use with their teens.”