Instagram Introduces ‘Take a Break’ and Other Teen Safety Features

In the run-up to Adam Mosseri’s Senate appearance, Instagram has introduced a number of new and experimental features aimed at making the app a safer place for minors.

To begin, the previously announced “Take a Break” feature is now available in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia. When a user has been scrolling through Instagram for a while, the app will now prompt them to take a break and set future reminders. Teens, in particular, will receive notifications to enable those reminders to ensure they are aware of the feature. They’ll also see expert-backed advice on how to “reflect and reset.”

Instagram head Adam Mosseri

Instagram will launch tools for parents and guardians in March that will allow them to see how much time their children spend on the app and set time limits. Teens will also have the option of notifying their parents if they report someone, which will serve as a signal to the adults in their lives that they may need to talk about it.

One of the experimental features Instagram is testing will be useful for teens and young adults who want to delete their Instagram activity from when they were much younger. It will allow users to delete all of their photos and videos, as well as all of their likes and comments, in bulk. In January, everyone will be able to use the feature.

Another test feature will expand on what Instagram began earlier this year by prohibiting adults from DMing teens who do not follow them. It will also disable the ability for adults who do not follow teens to tag or mention them, as well as include their content in Reels Remixes or Guides, beginning early next year. Finally, it’s looking into ways to limit the sensitive content that teens see even more, and it’s currently developing an experience that will nudge users to another topic if they’ve been scrolling on one for a while.

Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri is scheduled to testify this week as part of a series of hearings on online child safety. Instagram and Facebook have come under fire in recent months after whistleblower Frances Haugen testified before Congress about the social networks’ impact on teens based on Meta’s research. Haugen exposed a lot about Facebook’s algorithms and other internal processes, such that “engagement-based ranking on Instagram can lead children from fairly harmless topics like healthy meals… to anorexia-promoting content in a very short period of time.”

READ ALSO: Instagram CEO Adam Mosseri will testify before the Senate on teen mental health