About 76 percent of American teens age 13-17 use Instagram. Hence, it is the duty of the platform to keep them safe. Instagram has announced that it is introducing new policies, which aim to make the platform safer for the young users. It will now limit the interaction between teenagers and adults they don’t follow.
The adults won’t be allowed to direct message (DM) teenagers who don’t follow them. The platform is introducing “safety prompts” These will show up for teens when they try to DM adults who have been “exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior.”
Now, when an adult will try to message a teen who doesn’t follow them, they will receive a notification that DM’ing them isn’t an option. The feature relies on Instagram’s work to predict peoples’ ages using machine learning technology and the age that people provide when they sign up.
Instagram will be using prompts – or safety notices — to encourage teens to be cautious in conversations with adults they’re already connected to. These prompts will notify teen users when an adult who has been exhibiting potentially suspicious behavior is interacting with them in DMs. For instance, if an adult is sending a large amount of friend or message requests to people under 18, the platform will 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. These prompts will start appearing for users starting this month.
Moreover, Instagram is working on making it more difficult for adults to find and follow teens. The efforts 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.
The platform will also encourage young people to keep their accounts private. Teens can still opt for a public account if they choose to do so after learning more about the options. Instagram will send notifications if the teen doesn’t choose ‘private’ when signing up. In these notifications, it will highlight the benefits of a private account.