The Internet and social media platforms have evolved into spaces everyone can participate in. More and more young people are coming online to connect with their family and friends over things that matter to them. It’s important for parents to have open and honest dialogues with their teens about online safety, empowering themselves to stay safe online using free tools and resources available.
Online safety is a priority
Meta works with experts in mental health, child psychology, digital literacy and more, to build features and tools so people can connect online safely and responsibly.
In addition to offering a wide range of online safety and privacy tools across its platforms, Meta’s newly launched Family Center in South Africa is an online portal that gives power to parents and provides them with the means to safeguard their children and teens. Available across Meta technologies such as Instagram, the Family Center offers tools and resources to manage digital experiences across digital ecosystems.
Here are four ways Meta’s Family Center and platforms enable parents to support their children online.
1. Supervision tools
By linking Meta accounts, parents can unlock a wide range of supervision tools that let them actively participate in their child’s digital activity. And, while teenagers don’t always think it’s cool that parents are on the app too, having an online presence can be very beneficial.
Using Family Center on Instagram, parents can monitor who their teens are following and who follows them, as well as how much they spend on the platform every day. They can also set daily time limits to manage the time spent scrolling.
2. Education Hub
Not every parent knows how to approach the topic of online safety, or how to enforce it. That’s why Family Center’s Education Hub is an invaluable resource, providing parents with tips, insight, and comprehensive articles that help them and their families navigate online spaces.
Education Hub features expert input from leading parental organisations that specialise in media literacy, safety and communication, privacy, and overall digital well-being.
3. Healthy habits
South Africans are hooked on social media platforms, spending an average of three hours and 44 minutes online each day – more than the global average. Spending so much time online can result in us developing habits, which is why it’s vital that young people develop healthy ones.
For teens on Instagram, the ‘Take a Break’ feature allows them to make informed decisions and take control of how much time they spend on the app. If a user has spent a certain amount of time scrolling, Instagram will ask them if they want to take a break and suggest setting reminders to take more breaks in the future.
In January Meta also introduced Quiet Mode on Instagram, a new feature to help people focus and to encourage them to set boundaries with their friends and followers. For example, when you turn on Quiet Mode, you won’t receive any notifications, your profile’s activity status will change to let people know you’re in Quiet Mode, and Meta will automatically send an auto-reply when someone sends you a DM. Meta is making Quiet Mode available to everyone on Instagram globally in the coming weeks.
4. Privacy by default
A big part of being in online spaces is the level of privacy those spaces provide. As such, there should always be privacy safeguards in place that determine what information other users can and cannot see.
For instance, Facebook users under the age of 16 are defaulted to certain privacy settings. This includes who can see their friends list, the people and Pages they follow, posts that they’re tagged in, and who can comment on their public posts.
These are just some of the ways that platforms like Facebook and Instagram work to maintain online safety and privacy.
“It’s only by taking a holistic approach, by offering comprehensive resources and effective methods to set and monitor boundaries, that we can make a real difference in young people’s lives. We want to help them connect and foster relationships in a safe and secure environment,” said Sylvia Musalagani, Safety Policy Manager for Africa, Middle East and Turkey at Meta.