Meta Strengthens its Youth Safety Efforts in Kerala

In Technology Updates
September 27, 2022

Instagram announced Parental Supervision Tools to help parents become more involved in their teen’s online experience. With this, Instagram also launched a Family Center that will enable parents and guardians to access supervision tools, resources, and information from leading experts on child safety.

Meta has been working closely with experts, parents, guardians, and young people from India, to understand the needs of parents and young people. One of the biggest needs continues to be tools and resources to educate parents about digital services. This education would allow parents and guardians to help their teens manage their online experiences.

Speaking at the launch of the Parental Supervision Tool in Kochi, Natasha Jog, Head, Public Policy, Instagram, Facebook India (Meta) said, “Over the years, we have introduced many age-appropriate features and resources that help in enhancing young people’s experience on Instagram. With the launch of these supervision tools, we are trying to strike a balance between young people’s desire for some autonomy when using Instagram, but also allow for supervision in a way that supports conversations between parents and young people when it is helpful.”

The Supervision Tools on Instagram will allow parents and guardians to:

Manage how much time their young people spend on Instagram – Help young people manage their time on Instagram by setting screen time limits and scheduling breaks during the day and week

View what accounts their young people follow and the accounts that follow their young people – Allows you to stay up to date with who your young person connects with on Instagram

Be notified when their young people reports someone – Young people can choose to notify you if they make a report on Instagram, so you can discuss what happened together

An Education Hub for Parents and Guardians
Family Center includes a new education hub where parents and guardians can access resources from experts and review helpful articles, videos and tips on topics like how to talk to young people about social media. Parents can also watch video tutorials on how to use the new Supervision Tools to get the most out of the platform. Meta will be working with Yuvaa, a youth media and insights company, to drive awareness about these resources.

From India, the Center includes resources such as the Parents Guide, the ‘Dealing with Exam Stress’ guide developed in partnership with Fortis Mental Health and Sangath, an LGBTQ guide on being safe online, developed in partnership with the Queer Muslim Project, the guide to ‘Buidling Health Digital Habits’ developed in partnership with the Young Leaders for Active Citizenship (YLAC) and guides to creating safe spaces and managing your mental health. The Center will be available in English and Hindi.

Some other key measures that enable the safety of young people –
Defaulting people under 18 into private accounts – everyone who is under 18 years old will be defaulted into a private account when they join Instagram.
Stopping unwanted contact – We’ve developed technology that allows us to find accounts that have shown potentially suspicious behavior and stop those accounts from interacting with young people’s accounts. By “potentially suspicious behavior”, we mean accounts belonging to adults that may have recently been blocked or reported by a young person for example.
Age appropriate ads – We only allow advertisers to target ads to people under 18 based on their age, gender and location. This means that previously available targeting options, like those based on interests or on their activity on other apps and websites, are no longer available to advertisers. These changes apply to Instagram, Facebook and Messenger.

Recently, to help children and parents address concerns of online safety, Meta supported the RATI Foundation (Aarambh India Initiative) to launch ‘Meri Trustline’. The first-of-its-kind helpline is dedicated to offer support to children under the age of 18 years who are in distress on account of facing online safety concerns, such as cyberbullying and loss of control over sensitive media including self-generated child sexual abuse material. Under its WeThinkDigital initiative, Meta also partners with law enforcement agencies across the country to provide Digital Literacy training to youth and adolescents. In Kerala, Meta partnered with Kerala Police Cyberdome and Bachpan Bachao Andolan to launch “Koottu”, an awareness campaign to protect children from cyber crimes.