Earlier this month, Instagram released a new anti-bullying feature that lets users ban cyberbullies from seeing any of their content, without fear of retaliation. The new feature, called Restrict, puts selected users on a “restricted status” that prevents them from seeing any of a user’s new posts but continues to show a user’s account as being “followed.” This essentially bans someone without them ever knowing anything has happened.
Instagram Looks to Empower Teens
Instagram created the Restrict feature in response to a growing number of complaints against the harassing practices that have become prevalent on many social media platforms.
In a statement released on their website, Instagram said, “Bullying is a complex issue, and we know that young people face a disproportionate amount of online bullying but are reluctant to report or block peers who bully them.” It goes on to explain how the Restrict feature will give young people back their power, by allowing them to “protect” their account, while still being able to see anything that their bullies are posting.
Your teen’s cyberbullies won’t be able to tell that they’ve been restricted, because from their end they will still see your teen’s account as being “followed,” they just won’t be able to view any new content they post.
To Use the New ‘Restrict’ Feature
“You can 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,” according to the statement on Instagram. Following these steps will not only let your teen put a user on Restrict status, but they’ll also allow them to report individual comments as well.
Once a user is placed on Restrict, your teen won’t receive notifications if they make any future comments, and any messages they send will go into your teen’s “message request” folder instead of their main folder. Restricted users won’t be notified of the status of their messages, even if they’re opened or deleted, so you and your teen can decide together how to handle unwanted messages at your own pace.
Instagram Stands Up to Cyberbullies
It’s no coincidence that the new feature went live during October, which is National Bullying Prevention Month. Instagram has been working hard to curtail some of the recent reports of bullying on its app by partnering with groups that work directly with teens to increase education and awareness around the dangers of cyberbullying. Some of the additional features they rolled out this month included a “Create Don’t Hate” campaign, which allowed users to add stickers to their Stories to show the ways they used creativity in the face of hatred.
What’s Next for ‘Restrict’
Instagram plans to continue to measure and monitor how the Restrict feature is used now that they’ve completed their final roll-out. “This allows us to keep improving Restrict and make sure people are aware of it and find it useful,” a representative from Instagram explained to Parentology. Although they won’t be releasing these numbers publicly, they will be using them internally to continue to adjust and improve the app.