In recognition of the potential risks and the need for safer online experiences, Meta leads the charge to promote safe and responsible internet use for young people.
While there are numerous advantages to using the web, such as obtaining data, forging social networks, and having fun, there can also be some hazardous effects, like cyberbullying, exposure to adult content, online predators, and identity fraud.
Therefore, young people must exercise precaution when navigating the internet.
As one of the leading technology companies, Meta is committed to creating a safer digital environment by implementing robust safety measures and educational initiatives.
Meta’s efforts encompass a multi-faceted approach to addressing the challenges associated with internet use. Through partnerships with schools, parents, and organizations, Meta strives to raise awareness about online safety and empower young people with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate the digital world responsibly.
Making the internet safer is also vital for several reasons.
Firstly, it ensures that online spaces are secure and free from harm, enabling people to use the internet confidently. Secondly, it fosters trust among users, which is essential for online communities to thrive. Finally, creating a safer internet promotes greater access to information and opportunities for everyone regardless of age, gender, or background.
Meta works closely with experts in mental health, child psychology, and digital literacy, among others, to build features that allow people to control their social media experience and manage their time. One of how Meta prioritizes safety is by ensuring that all users on their platforms are at least 13 years old.
Dr. Priyanka Bhalla, Safety Policy Manager, has stated:
“Meta is committed to empowering parents and teens by providing a range of youth well-being features. We strive to create a safe and positive online environment where people, especially young users, can connect and leave our apps with a sense of well-being. Through ongoing dialogue and engagement, we encourage parents and teens to have open conversations about online safety. With our continuous development of new features and tools, we aim to enable individuals to nurture their relationships in a secure and supportive digital space.”
If they become aware of any user under the minimum age limit, they immediately delete their account. Meta also rolled out features that enable users to manage their time, prevent unwanted interactions, and control what type of content and accounts they see on their platforms.
Meta has put in place several precautions to ensure the safety of teen users. Advertising can now only be targeted based on age and location, with gender and other factors removed from consideration. Additionally, interactions on Meta’s apps will not shape which ads are shown.
Moreover, Instagram has tools such as age verification, supervision tools, and the “Restrict” feature, which enables users to control their Instagram experience. Since 2021, everyone under 16 is defaulted to a private account when they join Instagram.
Additionally, new Facebook accounts belonging to minors automatically default to share with “friends” only. If a minor wants to share publicly, they must go to their settings to enable the option, and Meta reminds them about the meaning of posting publicly.
The company also limits who can see or search specific information teens have shared, such as contact information, school, hometown, or birthday. Meta takes steps to remind minors that they should only accept friend requests from people they know, and location sharing is off by default for minors.
Meta has generated many resources, guides, and programs devoted to keeping teenagers safe online, such as the Facebook Safety Center, Bullying Prevention Hub, Instagram Safety Centre, and Instagram Community Portal.
Additionally, they have introduced the Facebook Parents Portal and Instagram Tips for Parents to aid parents in recognizing their platforms. For even more assistance, families can go to the Family Center, which provides useful articles, videos, and expert tips on topics like conversing with teens regarding social media.
Meta’s Community Standards offer extra safeguards for minors regarding bullying and harassment, privacy infringements, picture confidentiality, and violent or explicit material. If a report is made by the minor or the parent/legal guardian, then Meta will eliminate images or videos of anyone below 13 years old.
Reports received directly from minors aged between 13 to 18 are also taken into consideration for removal. People also have access to Meta’s dedicated reporting channel for possible transgressions of their privacy on Facebook.
The internet has become an essential part of life, especially for young people among its most active users. Although it presents a wealth of advantages, there are several risks that must be addressed, particularly for minors.
To combat these issues, Meta has taken steps to create a secure environment for young people to interact online. Through working with experts and implementing features allowing users to manage their experience on the internet, Meta is actively encouraging responsible usage.
Ultimately, making the web safe will help build trust and make information available fairly to all parties while aiding young people on their journey to becoming digital natives.
Iqra Shahid – Social Media Expert at ProPakistani
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