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Instagram launches 'Take a Break' and other features to protect teens

The new measures come as Instagram faces scrutiny for its potentially negative effects on young people.
/ Source: TODAY

Instagram is rolling out several new safety measures aimed at protecting teens.

One new feature, “Take a Break,” aims to keep teens out of a cycle of endless scrolling. Users can set regular reminders to step away from Instagram when they’ve been using the app for a certain amount of time.

Users can set up reminders to take breaks.Instagram

A message pops up with suggestions of nonscreen activities teens can do to recharge, including “take a few deep breaths” and “write down what you’re thinking.”

Another feature notes when a user has been looking at posts under a certain topic — say, beauty — for a long time, and gently nudges them to check out other topics.

The app will nudge users toward other topics if they've been focusing on one category of content for a long time.Instagram

Teen users will also be given more control over the content they share, and will be able to delete old photos in bulk rather than one-by-one.

Teens will be able to delete old photos in batches.Instagram

Instagram will also prevent users from tagging or mentioning teens they don’t follow.

Starting in March 2022, Instagram will also be launching new tools for parents and guardians to track their kids’ activity on the site.

Parents will be able to see how much time their kids are spending on Instagram and set time limits.

Users will be able to track time spent on Instagram and set daily time limits.Instagram

The company’s announcement of the new measures come a day before Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri is set to speak to Congress about protecting kids online.

Instagram and Facebook, which are owned by parent company Meta, came under fire earlier this year after The Wall Street Journal published leaked internal documents that seemed to suggest the company was aware of how its apps can negatively affect teens.

Meta responded to the Wall Street Journal’s report with a detailed rebuttal of the article’s claims, arguing that their internal research was presented without context.

“It is simply not accurate that this research demonstrates Instagram is “toxic” for teen girls,” the company said in a news release. “The research actually demonstrated that many teens we heard from feel that using Instagram helps them when they are struggling with the kinds of hard moments and issues teenagers have always faced.”