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Social media strengthens safety features as parents are urged to be more vigilant of children’s online activity

File. Social Networks are bolstering safety features amid calls for parents to be vigilant of their children's activity online.

File. Social Networks are bolstering safety features amid calls for parents to be vigilant of their children's activity online.

Published Mar 22, 2022

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Johannesburg - Social Networks are bolstering safety features amid calls for parents to be vigilant of their children's activity online.

The Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), a local NPO and recognised Internet industry representative body, has urged parents to talk to their children about safety online.

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"Parental controls can indeed support you in your efforts to keep your kids' Internet experiences safe, fun, and productive. However, while helpful, they are not 100% effective,“ the ISPA told IOL in an interview.

“It is essential to talk to your child about online safety, screen time limits and responsible online behaviour.”

The ISPA added that while it's never possible to be safe enough, or safe, in either the virtual or bricks and mortar worlds. However, tangible progress is being made in the sphere of online safety.

"Examples of common platforms with at least a 13 age restriction are WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Discord, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat. Platforms that make restricted content available to under 13s include Tik Tok, YouTube, Xbox," the ISPA said.

The organisation said that setting parental controls through your ISP can be the easiest way to manage what your children can access across all your devices and computers in your home.

A phone call or email to the ISP can immediately help parents not up-to-date on essential internet protection.

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Meanwhile, in the latest move toward more safety for children from a social network perspective, Facebook-owned photo-sharing app Instagram has introduced new supervision tools for parents and guardians.

Since a recent roll-out, the new supervision tools are currently available on Instagram, while other features to support supervision in Virtual Reality (VR) on the app will begin rolling out in VR in May.

Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, said that the social network has a vision to eventually allow parents and guardians to help their teens manage experiences across Meta technologies, all from one central place.

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"Parents and guardians know what's best for their teens. In December, I committed to developing new supervision tools that allow them to be more involved in their teens' experiences," Mosseri said.

The Family Centre includes an education hub where parents and guardians can access resources such as helpful articles, videos and tips on topics like how to talk to teens about social media.

Parents and guardians will also be able to view how much time their children spend on Instagram and set time limits, and be notified when their teen shares they've reported someone.

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They will also be able to view and receive updates on what accounts their teens follow and the accounts that follow their teens.

IOL

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