Instagram is stepping up its efforts to stamp out predatory behavior in the app with a new variety of features designed in order to protect younger users from ill-intentioned adults. First off, and most importantly, Instagram is now implementing new restrictions that will restrict adults from sending messages to any users under the age of 18 who don’t follow them, which is great.
According to Instagram, “When an adult tries to message a teen who doesn’t follow them, they’ll receive a notification that DM’ing them isn’t an option. This feature relies on our work to predict peoples’ ages using machine learning technology, and the age people give us when they sign up.”
That means people under the age of 13 can’t sign-up for an Instagram account, however, there are ways around this – and in the same way, adults could still, apparently, avoid any such restriction by also entering a false age.
That’s why, as Instagram notes, it’s looking to perform new detection tools and processes to catch out those who may be looking to use the platform for such purpose. That becomes even more pressing as the social media platform moves into fully encrypted messaging, in line with Facebook’s broader push to integrate its different messaging tools.
However, A key concern with message encryption is that it can provide more protection for predators, as no one, not even law enforcement, can access those exchanges. Furthermore, Instagram is aware of this limitation, with respect to protecting younger users, also Instagram says that it is working to establish features that will enable protection, without accessing the content of DMs.
More about Instagram’s new tools, Instagram’s adding new alert prompts inside message threads that will encourage younger users to be careful in conversations with adults that they’re already connected to.
In light of Instagram’s new tools, Instagram explains: “Safety notices in DMs will notify young people when an adult who has been exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior is interacting with them in DMs.
For example, if an adult is sending a large amount of friend or message requests to people under 18, we’ll use this tool to alert the recipients within their DMs and give them an option to end the conversation, or block, report, or restrict the adult.”
We can say that these prompts could actually help to get younger users to think about what they’re sharing, also why this person may be getting in contact – which could, in itself, be enough to stop them from sharing too much personal information.
Besides Instagram’s new tools, Instagram’s also looking to implement further restrictions on adults “who have been exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior to interact with teens”.
Instagram says: “This may include things like restricting these adults from seeing teen accounts in ‘Suggested Users’, preventing them from discovering teen content in Reels or Explore, and automatically hiding their comments on public posts by teens.”
In other words, this seems like the minimum response, if they’ve been exhibiting suspicious behavior -however, those behaviors may not necessarily be indicative of ill-intent, also Instagram needs to implement such measures with respect, and also prioritizing user safety.
Instagram will also now encourage teens to establish privacy parameters for their accounts, along with new alerts besides prompts in order to highlight the benefits.
Besides Instagram’s new tools, Instagram has also launched a new Parents Guide to help parents better understand how they can protect their kids on the platform.
More about the 50-page guide, it is created in collaboration with The Child Mind Institute and ConnectSafely, includes explainers on the platform’s various privacy and safety features, along with tips and conversation starters “to help parents navigate discussions with their teens about their online presence”.
Also note that Instagram has previously launched various guides for parents, covering all aspects of the platform’s protection and safety tools. This new guide, anyhow, is more comprehensive, with detailed overviews on more of the platform’s safety elements, including the latest updates.
Instagram says the guide will be launched in more regions shortly. It is now available with localized versions for the US, Argentina, Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, and Singapore.
Parents need to take care of their kids while using the internet. We can say that the guide is a key area of focus for Instagram, which also expands on the platform’s efforts to limit the negative psychological impacts of comparison and bullying within the app.
Moreover, online predators are another huge concern in this respect, so this guide will be beneficial for parents to download in order to understand Instagram’s new tools which will help protect their teens from harmful attention.