Instagram ups its efforts to protect young users

Social media giant Instagram has announced this week its plans for making the app a safer space for young people and teenagers. Nowadays it is unusual to meet a young person who does not use the app and the influence of it in their everyday lives is clear to see.

Instagram plans to focus on users under 16 by restricting the type of content they can be exposed to. They will also encourage young users to keep their safety and privacy settings up to date as well as reminding them to ‘take a break.’

Instagram explains the updates here:

“Last December, we announced our commitment to building a safer search and discovery experience for teens on Instagram. Now, we’re defaulting new teens under 16 into the most restrictive setting (aka ‘Less’) of our ‘Sensitive Content Control’ on Instagram – which works to limit potentially sensitive content in Explore, Explore, Hashtag Pages, Reels, Feed Recommendations and Suggested Accounts.”

Meanwhile, the American Psychological Association said:

“The frequency of Instagram use is correlated with depressive symptoms, self-esteem, general and physical appearance anxiety, and body dissatisfaction and that the relationship between Instagram use and each of these variables is mediated by social comparison orientation.”

A report by Meta themselves even found the following worrying statistic:

“Thirty-two percent of teen girls said that when they felt bad about their bodies, Instagram made them feel worse.”

For many of us the effects of Instagram on our mental health and anxiety can be a very negative place so moving forward it is possible that affiliates and content creators should think about their role in these feelings and their social responsibility given the influence that they hold.

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