Facebook and Instagram roll out new tools to help parents keep their teens safe online

Online stranger danger is a real concern on social media. As a result, Meta, parent company of Facebook and Instagram, has rolled out new tools for parents that will limit messages with kids. This, as state lawmakers want to ban minors from using social media altogether.

Experts say the fight to keep kids away from strangers and inappropriate content could be an uphill battle.

The company, Meta, announced that users under the age of 16 will no longer be able to receive messages or be added to group chats by people they don’t know. Facebook and Instagram were accused by New Mexico’s state attorney of being a marketplace for predators in search of children.

“If an adult can be tricked, surely a child can be tricked, because it’s just too easy,” social media expert, Dwann Holmes, said.

TELL US: What do you think about stricter settings for teens on Instagram and Facebook?

The changes also include an alert parents get online if their child changes their privacy and safety settings. It also includes the ability to approve or deny their child’s requests on social media. Holmes says challenges could arise if the teenager didn’t sign up for social media with their real date of birth.

“It’s the honor system, when it comes to social media. I tell you my age, the date I was born, but am I telling the truth?” Holmes said.

Meta says it’s also developing a new feature that’s designed to protect users from receiving unwanted or inappropriate images in messages.

“I think it’s going to be met with huge challenges. I think it’s very unrealistic to think that what we’ve all been taking part in for years now, we are all the sudden going to say, ‘Hold up. Let’s take our children off this,’ when I think the bottom line is it really comes down to parental authority and parenting,” Holmes said.

Most social media platforms currently have a minimum user age of 13-years-old. As for the state of Florida, House Bill 1 would ban teens under 16 from Facebook altogether. That bill is now headed to the GOP controlled state Senate for consideration.

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