Instagram starts rolling out parental supervision tools - but not in New Zealand yet

The Instagram logo being magnified
Parents will be able to see how much time their child spends on the app. Photo credit: Newshub

Meta has begun rolling out parental supervision tools for its Instagram platform, with mums and dads in the US the first to get access to the suite of new features. 

Kiwi parents worried about their children's social media use will have to wait a little longer, however - the company currently says it plans to roll the functionality out globally "in the coming months".

The company had been facing pressure to ensure the online safety of children after initially suspending plans for a version of the app especially designed for kids last year.

That came to the fore after former Facebook employee Frances Haugen's whistleblower testified that the company knew Instagram could have a harmful effect on teens.

In December, head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced a raft of changes to help with this, including switching off the ability for people to tag or mention teens who do not follow them on the app.

The platform was also looking at how to limit potentially harmful or sensitive material suggested to teens through its search function, hashtags and short-form videos, he said.

The new features, revealed in a blog post from Mosseri, were the "first step" in a journey to develop intuitive supervision tools informed by experts, teens and parents, the company said.

"Our vision for Family Center is to eventually allow parents and guardians to help their teens manage experiences across Meta technologies, all from one central place," Mosseri wrote.

Family Center includes an education hub where parents and guardians can access resources from experts and helpful articles, videos and tips on topics like how to talk to teens about social media.

Mosseri revealed the first supervision tools on the platform will allow parents and guardians to:

  • View how much time their teens spend on Instagram and set time limits.
  • Be notified when their teen shares they've reported someone.
  • View and receive updates on what accounts their teens follow and the accounts that follow their teens.

"Teens will need to initiate supervision for now in the app on mobile devices, and we will add the option for parents to initiate supervision in the app and on desktop in June," Mosseri wrote.

"Teens will need to approve parental supervision if their parent or guardian requests it."

More features will be added in the coming months, Mosseri said, including letting parents set the hours during which their teen can use Instagram and the ability for more than one parent to supervise an account.

Meanwhile Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has said the company is working to bring NFTs to the platform in the "near term".

"I would hope that the clothing that your avatar is wearing in the metaverse can be basically minted as an NFT and you can take it between your different places," Zuckerberg said.

"There's like a bunch of technical things that need to get worked out before that'll really be seamless."

It's not a surprise that NFTs are on their way to Instagram - Mosseri had previously said the company was "actively exploring" digital collectibles for the platform.