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Instagram Updates its Teen Safety Tools to Further Limit Potentially Harmful Exposure in the App

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Instagram Updates its Teen Safety Tools to Further Limit Potentially Harmful Exposure in the App

Instagram is expanding its sensitive content defaults for young users, with all account holders under the age of 16 now being put into its most restrictive exposure category, unless they manually change the setting.

As explained by Instagram:

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.”

In addition to this, Instagram says that it will also prompt all teens who are already on Instagram to choose the ‘Less’ setting, while it’s also launching a new ‘settings check-up’ that encourages teens to update their safety and privacy settings.

The change, which, as Instagram notes, builds on its announcement late last year, will mean that teens will now automatically have their experience limited, to protect them from potentially harmful exposure in the app, which aligns with advice from various medical professionals and studies, which have found that Instagram can be particularly harmful for teen users.

Researchers from the UK’s Royal Society for Public Health have found that Instagram usage is often associated with high levels of anxiety, depression, bullying, while the American Psychological Association has reported that:

“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.

Indeed, according to Meta’s own, internal reportage, which was published as part of last year’s Facebook Files expose, Instagram can have, and has had, harmful mental health impacts on many teen users.

As per the report:

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

In response to such concerns, Meta has now incorporated a range of new safety tools and features, including ‘Take a Break’ reminders and updated in-app ‘nudges’, which aim to re-direct users away from potentially harmful topics.

Instagram safety nudges

In combination, these prompts and restrictions could have a big impact in protecting teens, while also showing that Meta is doing what it can to limit harm via its apps. Even if it has also refuted the claims that Instagram is indeed as harmful as suggested.

The updated teen safety elements are being rolled out from today.



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Report Looks at the Most Commonly Shared Life Events on Instagram and TikTok

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Report Looks at the Most Commonly Shared Life Events on Instagram and TikTok

Social media is where people share their big life events and updates, in order to keep friends and family informed, and celebrate major milestones, changes, etc.

But what life events are people most likely to share in each app?

The team from Confused.com recently undertook a broader study of life trends, which also looked at the most popular life event postings on Instagram and TikTok, based on hashtag use, which could provide some valuable context for your content planning, and how to connect with the right audiences in each app.

First off, on Instagram – here are the top ten most shared life events within Instagram posts:

Those are all fairly logical, with the majority being celebratory events – though the variance in post volume for each is worth noting.

Based on this, a brand might want to consider marketing to new home buyers in the app, or post about new hires, or make it a bigger focus for campaigns based around these key life events.

On TikTok, the top 10 listing is similar, with some slight variances.

Life events report

‘Separation’ is much higher on TikTok (coming it at 11th on the list on IG), while ‘Marriage’ is not as high (23rd on TT). Not sure what that means – I would initially conclude that TikTok’s younger audience would result in less discussion of marriage, but separation is a key focus (as is divorce) so…

Maybe separated people are more likely to jump onto TikTok to find a new partner.

‘Gender reveal’ is also a bigger focus on TikTok (13th on IG), while ‘Death’ and ‘Funeral’ both make the top 10.

Some of these trends would relate to the variance in audience demographics, but it is interesting to note the differences, and how significant each topic is across the two apps.

Of course, for the most part, this research doesn’t reveal much that you didn’t already know – both apps are used for celebratory posts and major announcements, which includes all of the big life milestones and shifts.

But it is interesting to compare the popularity of each, and to consider how that could relate to your marketing and outreach, in line with usage.

You can read Confused.com’s full report here.

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