Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has taken a significant step towards enhancing online safety for teenagers by introducing stricter message settings on its platforms. This move is part of Meta’s ongoing commitment to providing age-appropriate experiences for teens and supporting parents in safeguarding their young ones’ online presence.
Effective immediately, teenagers under the age of 16, or under 18 in certain countries, will have direct messages (DMs) turned off by default from individuals they don’t follow or aren’t connected to. This measure is aimed at creating a safer online environment for teens, discouraging unsolicited messages and potential online risks.
Teens using supervised accounts will now require parental permission to modify these settings, ensuring that parents actively participate in their teens’ online safety. This reflects Meta’s acknowledgment of the crucial role parental supervision plays in guiding teens’ online behavior. Parents utilizing supervision features will be prompted to either approve or deny their teens’ requests to change default safety and privacy settings. These changes include transitioning from private to public accounts or altering DM settings to receive messages from individuals not already followed or connected to.
The introduction of this feature underscores Meta’s commitment to fostering meaningful offline conversations between parents and teens. It allows families to navigate online experiences together while respecting teens’ privacy and communication preferences.
Larry Magid, CEO of ConnectSafely, emphasized the importance of empowering parents with tools to protect their teens while respecting their privacy. “Empowering parents to approve or deny requests to change their teen’s default safety and privacy settings gives parents the tools they need to help protect their teens, while at the same time respecting their teens’ privacy and ability to communicate with their friends and family,” said Magid.
Meta’s ongoing efforts to support teens and families include a comprehensive suite of over 30 tools and features designed to promote online safety and well-being. The Family Center, in particular, offers valuable resources and expert insights to assist parents in navigating their teens’ digital experiences.
As Meta continues to prioritize safety and well-being on its platforms, these new measures represent a proactive approach to addressing the complex challenges faced by teens in the digital age. By involving parents in the decision-making process, Meta aims to strike a balance between online safety and the autonomy of teens in their digital interactions. The company remains committed to evolving its platform to meet the ever-changing landscape of online communication while ensuring a secure and age-appropriate experience for its teenage users.