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Dubai: Are you worried about how much time your teenager spends on Instagram and the content they scroll through? Well, there’s good news! The media-sharing app just announced new tools and resources, designed to support parents, guardians and teens on the platform. The tools and resources are now available across the Middle East and North African (MENA) region, they announced in a press release on September 15.

The new suite of supervision tools will allow parents and guardians to:

  • Send their teen an invitation to supervise their account, or accept an invitation from their teen
  • See how long their teen is spending on Instagram each day, and set daily limits
  • Schedule breaks for specific times during the day
  • See whom their teen follows and who follows them
  • Get notified when their teen chooses to share they have reported an account or post, including who was reported and the type of content

Mindful use of the platform

According to Instagram, teens using the application will now see a notification that encourages them to switch to a different topic if they are repeatedly looking at the same type of content on Instagram’s Explore section.

“The nudge feature is designed to encourage teens to discover something new and excludes certain topics that may be associated with appearance comparison. Research suggests that nudges can be effective for helping people — especially teens — be more mindful of how they are using social media in the moment. In a study on the effects of nudges on social media use, 58.2 per cent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that nudges made their social media experience better by helping them become more mindful of their time on-platform. Instagram’s own research shows the same: during a one-week testing period, one in five teens who saw the platform’s new nudges switched to a different topic. While it is currently a test, the feature will be rolled out fully soon.

Limit screen time

The new features for teens also include a ‘Take a Break’ feature that reminds people to take time off Instagram. Instagram initially sent teens a notification to turn on the feature when they would be scrolling in Explore; now, the platform will also send teens reminders to "Take a Break" when they have been scrolling in Reels for too long.

Expert-backed Resources for parents

Instagram said that parents in the Mena region and around the world will be able to visit Meta’s Family Centre, which contains expert-backed resources to help teens and their parents navigate the digital world.

Instagram expanded the content available in the Family Center education hub to include additional resources from more youth experts on topics related to digital wellness, safety and privacy, relationships and communication, and media literacy.

These articles also give parents helpful tips on how to talk to teens about different online topics such as connecting safely with others and how to be more self-aware online. Instagram will continue working with experts and organizations to make even more resources for parents and guardians available.

Building Safe Experiences and Products for Teens

According to Instagram, the new features have been decided with the input of teens, parents, experts, and policymakers, and will continue to work collaboratively to meet the needs of young people on the app.

Instagram recently published more details on the framework the company uses as it develops features for young people. This process was created to help Instagram apply the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) in its product development.

All the above features are included in the Mena Parents Guide, which was designed to help parents support their teens on Instagram and navigate difficult conversations about time spent online. It also provides an overview of the tools parents and teens can access to ensure a safer experience on Instagram. You can access the full guide here.