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Meta launches tools to help parents regulate teenage social media usage

Family Center provides parents with tools and resources to help support their teens’ online experience.

SAN ANGELO, Texas — It’s no secret that young people really know what’s what when it comes to new social media sites these days. Social media has become the centerpiece of most teenage lives and consumes most of their time during summer break.

This is why Meta launched parental supervision tools to help regulate what their children do online.

A 2018 Pew Research Center survey found that 45% of teens are online almost constantly and 97% of them use a social media platform. 

Monitoring your child isn’t always an easy task. One San Angelo parent keeps her children away from social media usage completely.

“I want them just to be kids? I don't want him to have to worry about what's being posted online or not posted online and I don't want them comparing what they're doing for everybody else is doing so just for their mental health. I feel like it's best that they are not on social media yet,” Crista Rojo said. 

But for parents who do decide to let their children have social media accounts, Meta's tools help parents monitor their children's Instagram account while also timing how long they use the app.

“What the Instagram tools do is they allow us, the parent, to initiate a sort of parent relationship with your child's Instagram accounts. Where you can see things like if they're reporting different accounts, you know, maybe they're seeing something online that they're uncomfortable with and they're reporting it, but they don't know how to start that conversation with you. So this would give you the information so that you can see what their experience has been and maybe you can start that conversation with them,” Meta Policy Manager Lori Moylan said.

This website answers the many questions teens and parents may have when it comes to social media and creates the environment where much needed conversations can begin.

It even nudges teenage users to visit a new topic if they’ve been dwelling on a specific social media for a long period of time.

“If a teen is dwelling for a really long time on a particular type of content issue, a notification that sort of nudges them to, you know, maybe think about something else, right? We help nudge them away so that they're, you know, maybe thinking about something different,” Moylan said. 

Stopbullying.org shared more tips for monitoring teens usage online:

  • Monitor a teen’s social media sites, apps and browsing history, if you have concerns that cyberbullying may be occurring.

  • Review or reset your child’s phone location and privacy settings.

  • Follow or friend your teen on social media sites or have another trusted adult do so.

  • Stay up-to-date on the latest apps, social media platforms and digital slang used by children and teens.

  • Know your child’s usernames and passwords for email and social media.

  • Establish rules about appropriate digital behavior, content and apps.

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