A Step-by-Step Guide: Setting up Parental Controls on Popular Sites like Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and More

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Parental controls are an essential tool for parents to protect their children from potential harm on social media platforms. However, many parents are unaware of these controls or do not take advantage of them. According to a report by The Washington Post, less than 10% of teens on Instagram had parental control settings enabled by the end of 2022, and only a small percentage of parents had used these controls.

Tech companies have often argued that they offer parental controls to protect young users from the potential dangers of social media. However, these controls are not enabled by default and require parents to take action to activate them. This means that they are largely ineffective unless parents are proactive in using them.

Different social media platforms have varying approaches to parental controls. Most platforms allow parents to monitor their teen’s communication and, in some cases, intervene in their app usage.

TikTok stands out as a platform that offers the most advanced parental controls compared to other platforms. The company has faced significant scrutiny from lawmakers and has aimed to address concerns by providing robust controls. Parents can link their account to their teen’s and set daily screen time limits. They can also restrict specific types of content, enable restricted mode, and control search options. TikTok also allows parents to limit who can message their teen or turn off direct messaging altogether.

Meta-owned Instagram offers parental controls through its Family Center. They provide a “supervised account” option for teens between the ages of 13 and 17. Parents can monitor their teen’s account activity, including time spent on the app. They can set time limits and scheduled breaks to ensure responsible usage. Instagram also allows parents to see their teen’s following and followers lists, reports submitted by the teen, and account privacy settings.

Snapchat offers a Family Center that allows parents to monitor some of their teen’s activity on the app. Parents can see their child’s friends, recent messages, and activity in groups. However, they cannot access the content of the messages. Snapchat also provides options to limit sensitive content in stories and spotlight.

Discord, a popular platform among young users, has recently introduced parental controls through its Family Center. Parents can receive weekly email summaries of their teen’s activity, including communities, users messaged, and servers joined. However, they cannot view the contents of the conversations.

Facebook, despite its association with older users, still has a young user base. Parents can access the supervision controls for Facebook in the same place as Instagram. They can monitor their teen’s time spent on the app, set breaks, view friends, privacy settings, and blocked users.

Twitter, now known as X, stands out as the only platform on this list that does not offer any parental controls. Although the platform prohibits users under 13, many young users still join by lying about their age. X is known for its adult content and relaxed hate speech filters, making it potentially unsafe for young users.

In conclusion, parental controls are crucial for protecting children on social media platforms. While many platforms offer these controls, it is essential for parents to be aware of them and actively use and monitor them to ensure the safety of their children online. Each platform has its own set of controls, and parents should familiarize themselves with these features to make the most of them. It is also important to remember that parental controls are not foolproof, and open communication between parents and their teens is vital in creating a safe online environment.

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