2 articles

July 07, 2024

Parental controls are offered on most major social media platforms, yet they are often underutilized. Fewer than 10% of teens on Instagram had activated these settings by 2022, reflecting low awareness among parents. These tools, not enabled by default, are crucial for safeguarding children amid concerns raised by lawmakers and advocacy groups.

Each platform varies in its approach to parental controls, from basic monitoring to more advanced regulation options. TikTok leads with robust features, while Instagram and Snapchat offer simpler controls.

Meta has long provided parental controls due to scrutiny over its impact on young users, contrasting with platforms like Discord, which have only recently introduced similar features. Despite controls, teens can still create secret accounts, underscoring the need for ongoing parent-child communication.

This guide aims to help parents navigate and understand the diverse parental control options across popular social media platforms.

How to use Facebook’s parental controls

You might be surprised to find Facebook included here, often considered a social network for older users. However, recent reports indicate that young people still use this Meta-owned platform.

Parents can manage Facebook’s supervision controls alongside their child’s Instagram activity. They can track their teen’s daily app usage and set scheduled breaks to control their screen time.

Parents also have access to their teen’s Facebook friends list, privacy settings, and content preferences. They can view who their teen has blocked, ensuring they are aware of their online interactions.

How Instagram’s parental controls work

Instagram, owned by Meta, provides parental controls through its Family Center feature. Parents can create a “supervised account” for teens aged 13 to 17, which requires agreement from both the teen and parent.

Within the Family Center, parents can monitor their teen’s activity on Instagram, including their screen time. They have the ability to set daily time limits and scheduled breaks to manage when their teen can use the app, ensuring it doesn’t interfere with school or homework.

Parents can also view their teen’s followers and following lists to monitor who can interact with their posts and message them. They can access any reports submitted by their teen to Instagram.

Additionally, parents can review and adjust their teen’s account privacy, sensitive content settings, and direct message settings. These features enable parents to discuss and ensure their teen’s safety online.

How to set Snapchat’s parental controls

Snapchat provides parents access to a “Family Center” where they can monitor some of their teen’s app activity. Parents need to create their own Snapchat accounts and connect them with their teen’s.

Once linked, parents can see their teen’s friends list, recent messaging contacts from the past week, and group memberships. However, they cannot view the content of messages, only the recipients.

Similar to TikTok, parents can adjust settings to limit their teen’s exposure to sensitive content in Stories and Spotlight. They can also report concerning accounts to Snapchat’s Trust and Safety team.

Unlike other platforms, Snapchat does not allow parents to monitor or restrict their teen’s app usage time.

Parental controls in X

X, formerly known as Twitter, is the only social media platform here without parental controls. Despite prohibiting users under 13, many join by falsifying their age. Known for adult content and relaxed hate speech filters under Elon Musk’s ownership, X faces criticism for its approach to cyberbullying and hateful content compared to peers.

While most teens avoid X, a 2023 Pew Research study found 23% have used it, a notable figure for a platform lacking protective measures. Unlike peers scrutinized by Congress, X and Discord have avoided significant oversight until recent hearings on child exploitation.

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2 articles

July 07, 2024