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Social media expert skeptical of Facebook’s new controls for children using its platforms

Facebook has announced it’s preparing to roll out new controls that are designed to encourage teenagers to take a break and steer them clear of content that’s not conducive to their well-being.
Facebook has announced it’s preparing to roll out new controls that are designed to encourage teenagers to take a break and steer them clear of content that’s not conducive to their well-being.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Facebook has announced it’s preparing to roll out new controls that are designed to encourage teenagers to take a break and steer them clear of content that’s not conducive to their well-being.

It’s important to note that these new features aren’t fully active on your child’s Facebook account quite yet, but according to Facebook executives, parents will have optional controls that will enable them to see what their teenager is doing online. Facebook will also nudge your child to take a break from harmful content — something social media experts are skeptical will really work.

Facebook’s new controls, come on the heels of whistleblower Frances Haugen’s testimony about the negative impacts, the Facebook data scientist claimed, has on teenagers. The social media giant tried to reset this weekend, announcing new parental controls are on the way.

“We’re going to introduce new controls for adults of teens on an optional basis, obviously, so that adults can supervise what their teens are doing online. Secondly, we’re going to introduce something which I think will make a considerable difference which is where our systems see that a teen is looking at the same content over and over again, and it’s content which may not be conducive to their wellbeing, we will nudge them to look at other content,” said Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president for global affairs.

In order for parents to put Facebook’s new controls into place, they’ll have to first know their child’s username and password information. The social media giant, however, has yet to release any more specific details as to how the new features will be implemented.

″I just don’t know if it’s enough for a child to implement on his or her own. I think it really goes back to parental control and parental monitoring. We cannot, from my perspective, rely on social media platforms to monitor our children,” Holmes said.

Holmes says it will be imperative for parents to fully understand how to navigate the app for the controls to really work. She has some advice for parents.

“My No. 1 recommendation is have a candid conversation with your child. After the candid conversation, explain what social media is and isn’t and then really make sure they understand that you will be monitoring their use. Monitoring is the No. 1 thing they can do,” Holmes said.

Facebook executives say they’ve invested $13 billion over the past few years to make sure their platform is safe. Facebook also announced it is pausing the creation of Instagram for Kids after public outcry and concern.


About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.