AUSTIN (KXAN) — Your teen’s homework sits unfinished. She was supposed to help you with dinner, and she still hasn’t taken the dog for a walk. Instead, she’s on Instagram.
It’s scenarios like these that Instagram’s new “quiet mode” is hoping to help avoid.
Once it’s turned on, you won’t receive any notifications, and your profile will automatically send an auto-reply to anyone who direct messages you, letting them know about your status change.
“We really hear from teens that they feel a need to be available a lot of the time,” said Meta Public Policy Manager Kate Randle. “So we will actually be prompting teens to turn this setting on when we see that they’re spending a lot of time on Instagram at night.”
Randle said the idea is to help them feel empowered to set healthy boundaries with their friends and manage their time on Instagram.
For those worried about missing out, Instagram will show a quick summary of whatever notifications you missed, allowing you to quickly catch up.
When asked whether this is Instagram’s way of admitting its platform is too addicting to teens, Randle focused on the old adage of quality over quantity.
“We want to encourage people to have a meaningful experience on our tools,” she said. “That doesn’t mean a lot of experiences. It means that the time that you’re spending on our tool is meaningful and allowing you to really connect and build relationships with friends and family and find interests.”
While quiet mode is designed specifically with teens in mind, anyone looking to help themselves take a break from the platform is able to use it.
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Updated parental supervision tools
For parents looking to better monitor their teen’s activity on Instagram, the social media platform is adding a tool allowing parents to see their settings. If their teen updates those settings, parents will get a notification about it.
They’ll also be notified if their teens block an account.
“This is really to make sure that parents have the visibility that they need to be able to talk about those behaviors with their teens off of Instagram and really help to make sure that they’re helping to guide their teens as they have experiences on social media,” Randle said.
This latest parental tool is in addition to other features including setting time limits, scheduling breaks and getting notified when their child shares a report with Instagram.
Managing what Instagram recommends
In the past, there are times when Instagram recommends a post in its explore tab, where you may be left asking yourself, “why did it recommend that to me?”
Now there’s something you can do about it.
A new tool allows you to highlight posts you don’t want to see in explore, and Instagram will apply that same insight to other places where it makes recommendations.
You’ll also be able to add a word or list of words, emojis or hashtags you want to avoid. This is now accessible in the hidden words section of privacy settings.
“This was previously a tool that was used to hide scammy (direct messages) or comments from people,” Randle said. “But now you can use this tool to really hide any type of content that contains certain words or hashtags or even emojis in the explore tab to really kind of personalize that experience and make sure you’re only seeing what you want to see on Instagram.”