Recently, I was kindly invited to Meta HQ to meet with Instagram to talk about the need to take a break. I was joined by the brilliant Kira Wong O’Conner, Instagram’s Public Policy Programme Manager, Nigel Clarke, Cbeebies presenter, and Zoe Baille, deputy CEO of The Mix. In this podcast episode, we discuss Instagram’s new supervision tools and how we can make better use of our time. If you have any questions or comments, please do get in touch, info@mybaba.com.

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About the episode’s guests

  • Kira Wong O Connor – Kira leads InstagramPublic Policy Programme across Europe, Middle East and Africa focusing on working with expert organisations that work directly with young people. She’s worked on programmes such as bringing anti-bullying peer-to-peer training to schools across the UK and workshops that empower young women to find their voices through social media while maintaining their safety and well-being. 
  • Nigel Clarke: Cbeebies presenter Nigel is father to two teenage children. He is also host of the Dadvengers blog and recently launched podcast, a community designed to support fatherhood.
  • Zoe Bailie: Zoe is the deputy CEO/Chief Development Officer of The Mix, the UK’s leading digital support charity for under 25s and Governor at a school in Hackney, London. She is passionate about co-producing services with young people and using digital as a force for good, especially to support young people’s mental wellbeing.

Podcast Show Notes

We’re always thinking about how we can help keep Instagram a safe and positive experience for teens, which includes helping protect them from unwanted contact, and making sure they feel good about the time they spend on the app. We have a team of 40,000 dedicated to safety on Facebook and Instagram and work closely with expert partners including The Mix and Parentzone to develop our policies.

Under 18s are automatically defaulted into a private account when they sign up, and adults can’t message under 18s who don’t follow them. We’ve also developed anti-bullying features like Hidden Words, which filters abusive comments and messages so you never have to see them, and comment warnings to encourage people to think twice before posting something that could be hurtful.

We launched Take A Break, to empower people to make informed decisions about how they’re spending their time. If someone has been scrolling for an extended period, they will be notified to take a break from Instagram and suggest that they set reminders to take more breaks in the future, as well as sharing expert-backed tips to help them reflect and reset. Early test results show that once teens set the reminders, more than 90% of them keep them on.

And most recently, we launched our new parental supervision tools, giving parents and teens more control over their experience on our app. The tools allow parents to:

  • Initiate supervision of their teen’s account
  • Set daily limits for how long their teen can spend on Instagram
  • Schedule breaks for specific times
  • See who their teen follows and who follows them
  • See more information when their teen shares they’ve reported something

Instagram’s NEW Supervision Tools

As well as focusing on removing harmful content and preventing negative experiences, Instagram also believe it’s important to try and encourage positive ones and has developed several features designed to promote positivity:

  • Comment warnings: Instagram uses AI to identify comments that could be hurtful, and encourage people to rethink before posting it. Research from the company found that in a given week, these warnings were shown about a million times per day on average. About 50% of the time after seeing these warnings, the comment was edited or deleted by the user.
  • Pinned Comments: This feature allows you to choose a positive comment under your post and ‘pin it’ so it stays at the top of your comment thread, setting the tone for others to follow.
  • Hiding like counts: Everyone on Instagram now has the option to hide like counts on posts in their Feed, and on their own posts. This way people can focus on sharing what they love, rather than how many likes they get. Read more here.

For those who do encounter negativity on social media, The Mix is the UK’s leading digital charity for under 25s and can provide resources to both teens and parents alike on navigating trolls, cyberbullying and more.

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