Instagram will roll out its first parental controls in March as it faces pressure to do more to protect its young users from harmful content and prevent them from overusing the product.

Adam Mosseri, the head of the app at Meta, the parent company of Instagram and Facebook, said in a blog post that parents could see how long their teenage children have been using Instagram and limit the time they spend on the app. Teens can also tell their parents if they’ve reported someone for violating Instagram’s guidelines.

“This is the first version of these tools; we will add more options over time, ”he said in the post.

Mr. Mosseri is supposed to appear before a Senate committee on Wednesday, and he is expected to ask questions about whether social media harms children and adolescents. The app has been under new pressure since then Frances Haugen, a former Facebook product manager, Leaked documents showing that the company was aware that Instagram makes girls feel worse about themselves.

Mr Mosseri said in the blog post that Instagram is developing a number of other tweaks for child safety. Its users can no longer tag or mention teenagers who are not following them. The app is also releasing a feature for all users in January that allows them to delete their posts, comments and likes in bulk.

It was not clear that Mr Mosseri’s announcement would appease lawmakers. “Meta is trying to divert attention from their mistakes by introducing parenting guides, timers, and content-control features that consumers should have always had,” said Senator Marsha Blackburn, Republican from Tennessee. “But my colleagues and I will see what they’re doing.”

Instagram is among several major technology platforms that have been researching changes to the way children use their products, in part due to new child safety guidelines in the UK. The app has said it is considering asking some young users to go through a more rigorous process to prove their age, but it hasn’t added those features yet.

Cecilia Kang Reporting contributed.



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