Messenger, the popular messaging app owned by Meta (formerly known as Facebook), has introduced new tools in its Family Center to empower parents in overseeing their teenage children’s app usage. The recently added features enable parents to monitor the amount of time their kids spend on Messenger, manage privacy and safety settings, and gain insights into messaging interactions. Parents and guardians can now control who can contact their child and view their stories. Additionally, they receive notifications regarding any modifications made to their teen’s contact list or privacy and safety preferences. Furthermore, if a child reports a user to Meta, parents can opt to be notified if their teenager decides to share the information.
Meta, the social networking giant, regards these tools as the initial phase of parental supervision enhancements that will be introduced to the Family Center. Although currently available exclusively to users in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada, Meta plans to expand their availability to other regions worldwide in the upcoming months. It is worth noting that Facebook has already provided parental controls for Messenger Kids for several years, while these new tools specifically target the main Messenger app, catering to parents with teenagers aged 13 to 18.
In addition to the parental control updates, Meta has implemented measures to prompt teenagers to manage their time spent on Facebook and Instagram responsibly. When teens have been active on Facebook for 20 minutes, they will receive a notification encouraging them to set daily time limits. For Instagram, Meta is exploring a nudge feature that will prompt teens to close the app if they have been extensively browsing Reels during nighttime hours. Furthermore, Meta has expanded parental controls for Instagram, allowing parents to view mutual friends between their teen and the accounts they follow or are followed by. Teens will also receive notifications after blocking someone, encouraging them to add their parents as account supervisors.
Meta has not neglected general safety updates either. Quiet Mode, a new feature that silences all notifications and alters a user’s profile status, will be gradually rolled out on Instagram worldwide in the coming weeks. Furthermore, the company is currently testing a couple of additional features designed to protect Instagram users from unwanted direct messages (DMs). Users are now required to send an invitation to connect before being able to message someone who doesn’t follow them. Additionally, users can only send one invitation at a time and must await acceptance before sending another. These message request invites exclusively consist of text, preventing users from sharing photos, videos, or voice messages with other users they are not connected to.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about parental controls
What are the new tools added to Messenger’s Family Center for parents?
The new tools added to Messenger’s Family Center allow parents to monitor their teenage kids’ app usage, manage privacy and safety settings, and receive notifications for their activities.
Can parents see how much time their child spends on the Messenger app?
Yes, parents can now view the amount of time their child spends on the Messenger app through the parental control tools.
What information can parents access regarding their child’s Messenger usage?
Parents can access information about their child’s privacy and safety settings, including who can message their child and who can see their stories. They can also receive notifications for changes in their teen’s contact list and any modifications to their privacy and safety settings.
Are these parental control tools available worldwide?
Currently, these tools are only available for users in the US, UK, and Canada. However, Meta plans to expand their availability to other regions around the world in the coming months.
Are these tools specifically for Messenger Kids or the main Messenger app?
These parental control tools are meant for the main Messenger app and are designed for parents with teenagers aged 13 to 18. Messenger Kids already has its own parental controls in place.