Teenagers love Instagram. It’s a place where they can keep tabs on their favourite celebrities, follow accounts that align with their personal interests and most importantly, express themselves.
It’s safe to say that’s where their friends are too, with recent stats showcasing that users aged 13-17 make up 7.3% of Instagram’s one billion monthly active users.
But, are teenage users safe on the platform?
Instagram is currently increasing its efforts to ensure younger users are safe on the app, following the launch of its new range of features, designed to stamp out predatory behaviour.
Within this blog, we outline how Instagram protects younger users with its brand new safety features.
What Are Instagram’s Latest Restrictions?
First off and most significantly, Instagram is preventing adults from privately messaging users under the age of 18 who don’t follow them.
As stated by 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 machine learning technology which predicts a user’s age, and the age someone provides when they initially sign up.
New detection tools such as machine learning are crucial for catching users who enter a false age when signing up, stopping manipulation of the system.
How Does Instagram Respond To Suspicious Behaviour?
The platform is also creating new alert prompts within message threads, reminding younger users to be cautious in conversations with adult users that they’re connected with.
Instagram will notify users when they’re engaging with an adult who has been displaying suspicious behaviour. For example, sending a large number of message requests to younger users.
As shown in the image (below), this notification outlines what the user can do if this behaviour does occur.
The intended purpose of this feature is to remind younger users to be careful in what they are sharing and support reflection on why this person might be getting in contact.
Instagram is continuously looking for further ways to combat suspicious behaviour.
As per Instagram: “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.’’
Instagram’s New Parent Guide
Finally, Instagram has launched – alongside their latest tools – a new parent guide, educating parents on how they can ensure their children are safe on the platform.
The guide has been created in collaboration with ‘The Child Mind Institute’ and ‘ConnectSafely’ to explain Instagram’s privacy and safety features, alongside tips and conversation starters to support discussions concerning a child’s social media activity.
Instagram has previously launched expert guides for parents, but this new, more comprehensive guide with detailed overviews can ensure that parents take back control of their child/children’s safety on the platform.