After introducing a nighttime nudge to prod teenagers from using Instagram at night, Meta is introducing additional message settings to keep them safe online. As per these ‘Stricter Private Messaging Settings for Teens‘, teenagers, by default, won’t be able to receive direct messages from users they don’t follow or aren’t connected to, for example through Facebook or their phone contacts.
Teenagers can only be messaged, or added to group chats, by those they’re already connected to, according to the new default setting which applies to all teens under 16 years of age (or 18 in some countries).
Users will be notified of the new change to the message settings as shown below.
On top of this, Meta will also prompt parents who are using the Parental Supervision Tools on Instagram whenever their teens want to change their default privacy settings and make them more lax.
Meta’s recent changes to the platform appear to be geared more and more toward teenagers. Earlier, Meta limited users over 19 years of age from messaging users who don’t follow them as well as the ability of teenagers to see potentially sensitive content on Instagram.
This flurry of teen safety-oriented changes comes as a response to growing concern over Meta being seen as an unsafe place for teenagers, especially by parents. Though some of these changes might seem ineffectual, recent additions could actually make the online space safer for the young.