July 17, 2024
1 Solar System Way, Planet Earth, USA

How to set up parental controls on Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok and other popular sites

Almost all popular media networks offer parental controls, but many parents are unaware of their existence. Less than 10% of teens on Instagram had enabled parental control settings in late 2022 and only a single-digit percentage of parents had used the controls, according to a Washington Post report earlier this year.

In response to Congressional concerns and rights groups As for the potential harm social media inflicts on young users, tech companies have long maintained that the parental controls they offer protect children. But since parental controls aren't on by default, they don't do much to protect users unless parents enable them.

Each platform approaches parental controls a little differently, but most start by allowing parents to monitor who their teen communicates with. Some social media platforms go a little further and allow parents to intervene in how their teen uses an app.

TikTok appears to be the platform that offers parents the most control over their teens' usage. The ByteDance-owned company has faced meaningful scrutiny of legislators, Arguably even more so than any other platform on this list. In an attempt to win the support of lawmakers, the app offers far more advanced parental controls than Instagram, Snapchat and others.

And while most social media platforms offer some form of parental controls, some have had them for longer than others. Meta has come under scrutiny for its potential negative effect on teens and young users. More than a decadeso it has had parental controls for many years, while a platform like Discord has been able to fly under the radar and has only Newly introduced parental controls.

Before we get into controls, it's important to recognize that teens can also create secret accounts, and that most parental controls on social media rely on communication from both parents and their teens.

We've created this guide to make it easier for parents to navigate and understand the parental controls offered by popular social media companies, and we've detailed how they vary from platform to platform.

How Instagram Parental Controls Work

Three screenshots from Instagram's Family Center
Image credits: Instagram

Instagram, owned by Meta, offers parental controls through its Family center The social network offers users the option to create a “supervised account” for teens between the ages of 13 and 17. Both the teen and parent must agree to participate.

In Family Center, parents and guardians can monitor their teen's account by seeing how much time they spend on the social network. Parents can intervene in their teen's use of the app by setting daily time limits or adding scheduled breaks. With this feature, parents can ensure that their teens only spend a certain amount of time on the app and do not use it during homework or school hours.

They can also view their teen's follower and following lists to control who can see their posts and send them messages. Parents can also view reports their teens have sent to Instagram.

Additionally, parents can view their teen's account privacy and sensitive content settings, along with direct message settings. They can discuss these settings with their teen to ensure they are protected.

TikTok offers robust parental controls

Image credits: Tik Tok

Like Instagram, TikTok allows parents to link their account to their teens' through their “Family Matchmaking” After doing so, parents can decide how much time their teen can spend on the app each day. They can set their teen's screen time limit and get a summary of how much time their teen spends on the app.

The app also allows parents to mute push notifications for their teens (TikTok mutes notifications for teens between the ages of 13 and 15 from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. by default). Parents can also choose to pause notifications for their teens for a custom period of time.

TikTok allows parents to take an extra step that other platforms on this list don’t offer: parents can limit specific types of content. They have the option to select keywords or hashtags to exclude specific content from their teens’ For You and Following feeds. They can also enable a “Restricted Mode” that will automatically restrict their teens’ exposure to unsuitable or inappropriate content.

Parents can also decide whether their teens can search for videos, hashtags, or live videos. They can also control whether their teen's account can be recommended to other users of the app. Parents can decide who can comment on their teen's videos and who can see content they like.

As for direct messages, parents can restrict who can message their teens or turn off direct messaging altogether. It's worth noting that direct messages on TikTok are only available to accounts belonging to users over the age of 16.

How to set up Snapchat parental controls

Image credits: Snapchat

Snapchat offers parents access to a “Family Center” This allows them to monitor some of their teens' activities on the app. Parents must create their own Snapchat accounts and then connect them to their teens' accounts.

Once parents link the two accounts, they'll be able to see who their teen's friends are on Snapchat. They'll also be able to see who their teen has messaged in the past seven days. Additionally, they'll be able to see a full list of members of groups their teen has been active in over the past week.

It's worth noting that parents can't see the messages their teen has shared; they can only see a list of people their teen has recently messaged.

Similar to TikTok, parents can limit their teens' ability to view sensitive content in Stories and Spotlight.

If parents find an account that concerns them, they can report it to Snapchat's Trust & Safety team. However, unlike TikTok and Instagram, parents cannot monitor or limit the time their children spend on the app.

How to set up Discord parental controls

Image credits: Discord

Discord offers a “Family Center” which allows parents to monitor their children’s activity on the platform. After signing up for Family Center, parents receive a weekly email summary with information about their teen’s activity. While parents will be able to see which Discord communities and users their teens are talking to, they will not be able to see the content of the conversations.

Parents can see the friends their teen recently added, including their display names and avatars. They can also see which users their teen has messaged or called in direct or group messages, including the times of the last message or call.

Additionally, parents can see what servers their teen has joined or participated in, including server icons and the number of server members.

Although Discord is commonly used by a young audience, until recently the platform has stayed out of the conversation about social media and its potential to harm children. In the past, Discord was able to stay out of the way while Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok, and Facebook were questioned by Congress. However, Discord was asked to testify in The latest congressional hearing on child exploitation.

How to use Facebook parental controls

Image credits: Goal

You may be surprised to see Facebook on this list because it is known for being a social network for older people. However, while it may seem like teenagers don't use Facebook, Recent reports suggest that young people They still use the platform owned by Meta.

Parents can access Facebook monitoring controls in the same place they monitor their child’s activity on Instagram. They can see how much time their teen has spent on the Facebook app each day over the past week, along with the average daily time spent during the week. To monitor the time their teen spends on the app, parents can schedule breaks.

Additionally, parents can view their teen's Facebook friends, along with their privacy settings and content preferences. They can also see the people and pages their teen has blocked.

Parental controls on X

X, formerly known as Twitter, is the only social media platform on this list that doesn't offer any form of parental controls. While Twitter bans users under the age of 13 from using the platform, many people lie about their age to join.

Compared to other social media platforms, X is flooded with adult content. The company has also relaxed its policies hate speech filters since being acquired by Elon Musk and is significantly more lenient on cyberbullying and hate content compared to the rest of the platforms on this list.

And while most teens don't use X, a 2023 Pew Research study found that 23% of teenagers have used the social networkwhich is still a significant number, especially on a platform that does nothing to protect them.

X, like Discord, has managed to fly under the radar when it comes to Congress's concerns about protecting children online. However, The company was part of the Congressional hearing. on child exploitation earlier this year.

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