Instagram hasn’t been very quick to help give parents tools to keep their children safer on their platform. It wasn’t too long ago I wrote my open letter to Instagram pointing out some of the issues I noticed.
Most of those issues are still very much a problem today, including the ability to search or click on hashtags for accounts under 18. However, it looks like Instagram (or actually Facebook, since Instagram is owned by Facebook) is finally starting to make some strides in this area.
New Instagram Privacy Options
Today Instagram announced 2 new privacy options coming soon to the app. The first is a birthday requirement so kids under the age of 13 will not be allowed to join the platform. The company also claims the birthday will help them “create more tailored experiences, such as education around account controls and recommended privacy settings for young people.”
I’m hoping this means good things are coming for teen accounts! Of course, I know that there are still kids that will fudge the age and sign up anyway. That is why parental control apps on the phone itself are so important.
Instagram also announced a new feature I’m super excited about. I hate that I had to tell my daughter to never ever click on direct messages from unknown people. Now you can control who can send you direct messages on Instagram!
The new setting allows you to only accept Direct Messages from people you follow. Again, this doesn’t help for children who WANT to get DM’s from strangers. At least it will make it easier to limit those unwanted contacts to your kids.
These Instagram privacy options coupled with the removal of like counts are definitely steps in the right direction for the company. I’m excited to see that Instagram is finally starting to take the safety of the teens on their platform seriously. I can’t wait to see what they will add next!
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on KSL News, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website SarahKimmel.com