Vital new parental controls are rolling out on Facebook, Instagram, and Messenger

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Meta is making changes to three of its biggest brands in an attempt to make them safer for young people. New parental controls are coming to Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram.

Some of these changes are designed to try and make sure that teenagers don't spend longer on the platforms than they should, while others are all about giving parents a better understanding of what their teens are up to on those platforms.

All of the new features are rolling out starting today, although there are some location limitations to take into consideration.

New Messenger tools

The changes were confirmed in a press release with Meta saying that "parents and guardians can access Messenger supervision tools and resources from leading experts to support their teens through the Meta Family Center."

The feature, called Parental Supervision on Messenger, is available in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada starting today and the company plans to expand it to other countries in the coming months.

"These tools allow parents to see how their teen uses Messenger, from how much time they’re spending on messaging to providing information about their teen’s message settings," the statement reads. "These tools do not allow parents to read their teen’s messages."

Better Instagram privacy

Meta also says that it is working to protect people from unwanted Instagram DMs so it's testing new features that will limit how people can interact with and message other people who don't already follow them on the platform.

"Before being able to message someone who doesn’t follow them, people must now send an invite to get their permission to connect," the statement says. "People can only send one invite at a time and can’t send more until the recipient accepts the invitation to connect." Those message requests are limited to just text, too.

Soft Facebook time limits

Finally, Meta says that Facebook will soon start seeing notifications that warn them when they've spent 20 minutes on the social network. They'll be prompted to take a step back, although they won't be blocked from plowing on.

"We’re also exploring a new nudge on Instagram that suggests teens close the app if they are scrolling Reels at night," Meta says.

There are other changes including some additional parental supervision features on Instagram and you can of course read all about them in that Meta blog post.

Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.