This year, more than ever, people are spending more time at home and online as a result of the pandemic — and while the internet has been a saving grace to many, it can also pose some serious perils — from obscenity, scams, malwares, phishing, identify theft, cyberbullying, the list goes on. This becomes all the more concerning when we have younger members of our family, particularly our children, having online access.
As parents, we would want to safeguard our children from the dangers that they may encounter on the internet, and to be able to do this, we have to keep ourselves updated, especially when it comes to the social media platforms.
In conjunction with Safer Internet Day on 9 February, Facebook Inc has launched the newest version of its Instagram Parent’s Guide in partnership with the Media Literacy Council (MLC). With this, Facebook and Instagram hope to empower parents to have the conversations they need to support the well-being of their children online. The guide will be available to download for free at https://www.betterinternet.sg/-/media/Resources/A-Parents Guide-to-Instagram.pdf on MLC.
Young people from around the world visually express who they are and connect with diverse communities that share their passions and interests on Instagram. “We want to strike a balance where teens can express their authentic selves on the platform while feeling safe and supported. This Instagram Parent’s Guide will serve as a tool for parents and guardians to understand the steps they can take in supporting the well-being of their children online,” said Amber Hawkes, Facebook’s Head of Safety in the Asia Pacific.
The update includes details on more than 10 new safety features such as Messaging, Tagging and Mentioning Controls, as well as Comment Management. A good example is Restrict, where users can protect their account, and their audiences from seeing unwanted interactions, without having to block people they interact with offline. Comments from a restricted account will only be visible to that person. This tool was built as a response to feedback from young people who said they wanted more control and options to protect themselves from bullying.
In the guide, parents can also find useful tips to start conversations with their teens about mental health, and about the importance of managing their time online in support of emotional well-being. It also features a foreword and additional tips from MLC.
“We are pleased to partner with Facebook to launch the updated Instagram Parent’s Guide in conjunction with Safer Internet Day 2021. Through this Guide, we hope to raise greater awareness of digital literacy issues such as privacy, responsible sharing, and cyberbullying and help parents find information about Instagram tools to guide their teenage children to Be Safe, Be Smart, and Be Kind online,” said Mr Lock Wai Han, Chairman of the Media Literacy Council.
The launch is just one of several initiatives that Facebook and Instagram have taken to demonstrate their commitment to safety. In addition to the new Instagram Parent’s Guide, Facebook will host a live discussion on the safe and positive use of social media for parents and their children, featuring an expert panel of guest speakers on Tuesday, 9 February 2021, 8.10 pm, on Facebook Live.
The speakers are Dr Janil Puthucheary, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Communications and Information & Ministry of Health; Ms Anita Low-Lim, Senior Director, Touch Community Services and member of the Media Literacy Council; and Ms Amber Hawkes, APAC Head of Safety Policy, Facebook. It will be moderated by presenter Sara-Ann Shuen Krishnamoorthy.
The speakers will share personal experiences in managing their children’s well-being and time on social media, as well as tips and advice on how families can use Facebook’s family of apps safely.
Parents can also learn more about staying safe on Facebook and WhatsApp through the company’s parent resources:
- Facebook’s Parents Portal, which provides tips and advice on understanding the Facebook experience and controls
- WhatsApp’s Safety Tips page, which provides tips on how to secure your WhatsApp account and use the messaging app safely