Making Instagram safer for young people

Instagram announced some features in their continued effort to build a safer experience for the youngest members of the Instagram community.

Latest features

As of May 2021:

Disappearing likes: Rolled out across Instagram as well as Facebook, you can choose to hide like counts on others’ posts as well as on your own.


As of April 2021:

  • A new feature to filter abusive messages: The new tool, when turned on, will automatically filter DM requests containing offensive words, phrases, and emojis, so you will not see them. There will be a new section called ‘Hidden Words’ in the Privacy Settings where you can turn both comment and DM request filters on and off. Instagram will roll out this feature in several countries in the coming weeks, to begin with then expanding to more countries over the next few months.
    Instagram new abuse report feature

    Credit: Instagram

As of March 2021:

  • Improving Instagram’s work to understand peoples’ real age: Whilst Instagram requires everyone to be at least 13 to use Instagram and ask new users to provide their age when they sign up for an account, they know that young people can lie about their date of birth. Verifying people’s age online is complex, but to address this challenge Instagram is developing new artificial intelligence and machine learning technology to help keep teens safer — and apply new age-appropriate features.
    Screenshot of Instagram

    Credit: Instagram

  • Restricting DMs between teens and adults they don’t follow: To protect teens from unwanted contact from adults, the latest feature that prevents adults from sending messages to people under 18 who don’t follow them.
    Screenshot of Instagram

    Credit: Instagram

  • Encouraging teens to make their accounts private:  When someone under 18 signs up for an Instagram account that gives them the option to choose between a public or private account. Instagram will be encouraging young people to opt for a private account by equipping them with information on what the different settings mean. Teens can still opt for a public account if they choose to do so after learning more about the options. If the teen doesn’t choose ‘private’ when signing up, Instagram will now send them a notification later on highlighting the benefits of a private account and reminding them to check their settings. Instagram also says they are assessing additional measures to protect young people on the platform in the next coming months.
    Screenshot of Instagram

    Credit: Instagram

Instagram advises they are working we a number of experts and NGOs to continue to develop their policies and features.

As of Dec 2019:

  • Asking for your date of birth
    Starting today, you will be asked for your date of birth when creating an account on Instagram. According to Instagram’s Terms of Use, you must be at least 13 years old to have an account in most countries.
    Asking for this information will help prevent underage people from joining Instagram, help Instagram keep young people safer, and enable more age-appropriate experiences overall.
  • Will my birthday be visible?
    Your birthday will not be visible to others on Instagram, but you’ll be able to see it when viewing your own private account information. If you’ve connected your Facebook account to your Instagram account, Instagram will add the date of birth that’s on your Facebook profile. This is not public information and only you will be able to see it when viewing your own account information on Instagram. Editing your date of birth on Facebook will also change it on Instagram. If you don’t have a Facebook account or if you have not connected your accounts, you can add or edit your birthday directly on Instagram.

    Credit: Instagram

  • Building age-appropriate and safer experiences
    In the coming months, Instagram will use the birthday information you share with us to create more tailored experiences, such as education around account controls and recommended privacy settings for young people.
  • Strengthening messaging privacy
    Lastly, Instagram is also taking steps to help you control who can send you direct messages on Instagram. This gives you the ability to allow only people you follow to message and add you to group threads. People who enable this setting will no longer receive messages, group message requests or story replies from anyone they have not chosen to follow.

    Credit: Instagram

These updates are part of Instagram’s ongoing commitment to ensuring Instagram remains a safe and supportive place, especially for the youngest people in our community. You can learn more about the Instagram Help Centre.

As of Oct 2019:

Tackling cyberbullying: Users can protect their accounts from unwanted interactions with a new feature called Restrict. Young people face an excessive amount of online bullying but are reluctant to report or block peers who bully them. Restrict is designed to empower you to quietly protect your account while still keeping an eye on a bully.

Simply restrict someone by swiping left on a comment, through the Privacy tab in Settings, or directly on the profile of the account you intend to restrict.

Instagram restrict settings


Instagram Privacy Settings document

Need help with your or your child’s Instagram privacy settings? Take control over your privacy and security. Click ‘Learn more’ for further information.


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