What You Need To Know:
Changes for Teens on Meta Social Media Platforms
Over forty states have sued social media giant, Meta because of its lack of safety protections for teens who use its platforms. As a result, Meta has come out with new changes to filter harmful content away from the newsfeeds of teens. With these new updates, teens cannot opt out of these more restricted settings. On Facebook, the restrictions are referred to as, “Reduce.” On Instagram, the restrictions are referred to as, “Sensitive Content Control.” An important note for parents: These protective settings are only automatic on accounts that enter a truthful teenaged birthday. For this reason, it’s important to monitor the birthday your child has listed on their social media accounts. As parents, due diligence is important as these protective settings are imperfect.
The protective settings will filter harmful content for children under 18. This includes any mention of self-harm, violence, & suicide. Children under 16 will not be shown any sexually explicit content. Meta has made it easier for teens to keep their content more private by having a simple click button prompt to opt in to “recommended settings.” This prompt will pop up when an unknown account messages or comments on the teen’s content. Once the teen opts in, only teen accounts will be able to directly message them. Again, an important reminder: It is difficult to verify if a teen account is a teen account, or if it was made with a fake birthday. Because of this, talk with your teen about safe social media usage, such as not sharing personal information such as location or school.
Because of the noted negative effects on body image and self-esteem from social media usage, content about disordered eating will also be filtered out. However, teens will be able to see content about recovering from disordered eating. These nuances are important because, with a slight change of spelling, teens can still see potentially harmful content despite the new protective measures. Because of this, Meta has increased the list of terms filtered out of teen social media feeds to bolster existing protections. Another beneficial change is Meta will redirect teens to resources for help if the teen looks up any content deemed harmful. While imperfect, these new changes are a big step above the free-for-all social media landscape that has so far existed.
For more information on these changes and how they can protect your teen’s life online, click the full article here.
If your teen is struggling with the social media landscape, schedule your appointment at Plum Tree Psychology, we can help.