Instagram to Prevent Adults From Messaging Teens Who Don't Follow Them

To stop teenagers from being bullied or targeted, Instagram will alert users upon detecting those with "potentially suspicious behavior."

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Entrepreneur Staff
3 min read
This article was translated from our Spanish edition using AI technologies. Errors may exist due to this process.

Most of us have heard (or starred in) some story of bullying on social networks. Fortunately, this could come to an end, at least on Instagram. The platform will implement a feature to prohibit adult users from sending direct messages to minors, unless they follow each other.

Almost all social networks require users to be at least 13 years old to open an account. However, many adolescents and even children find a way to circumvent the rule, with or without permission from their parents. This exposes them to many risks, primarily harassment by unknown adults, unwanted contacts, and unsolicited explicit material.

In an effort to protect underage users, Instagram announced a number of new features through its official blog.

“Protecting young people on Instagram is very important to us. We have teams specialized in youth safety and we work closely with experts to report on the functions we develop," the company said in a statement.



These are Instagram's guidelines on the harassment of minors

The social network will use artificial intelligence technology to determine the real age of users. This way, you can prevent adults with dubious intentions from posing as teenagers, and vice versa, so as not to expose minors to unpleasant situations.

In addition, the platform will prevent users of legal age from sending messages to minors under 18 who are not among its followers. If an adult tries to contact a teenage boy or girl, they will receive a notification that says, "You cannot post to this account unless they follow you."

A third measure will be to detect adults who send too many friend requests or messages to minors, and label them as users with "potentially suspicious behavior." This will serve to alert younger users and give them the option to block, report or restrict the adult.

Part of the strategy includes a Guide for Parents, so that they have the necessary information on safety tools and privacy settings. The idea is that they can help their children have a safe experience on Instagram and even on other social networks.

The Instagram changes will be implemented from this month in some countries, but the Facebook-owned company hopes to "have them available everywhere soon ."

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