Instagram has announced a raft of measures to keep young people safe on the app, including restricting DMs between adults and people under 18.

The new feature will stop adults from DMing people under 18, unless that young person follows them, the app wrote earlier this week. Instead, they’ll receive a notification saying, “You can’t message this account unless they follow you.”


Example Instagram notification

Image source: Instagram

On top of that, Instagram will implement prompts warning teens to be cautious with weirdo dudes. When Instagram notices suss adults young people are already connected to lurking in their DMs, they’ll get a prompt asking, “Do you know this person?”

Those suss adults could be say sending heaps of friend or message requests to young people. Yuck. The prompt would give young people the chance to end the convo, or block, report or restrict the adult, before offering advice like, “Don’t feel pressured to respond” and “Only share with people you trust.”

The feature is rolling out in some countries this month, and will soon be made available everywhere.

Example Instagram notification

Image source: Instagram

The app is also looking into features to make it hard for adults flagged as suss/creepy to interact with people under 18, including restricting young people from their Suggested Users, keeping teens’ content in Reels or Explore, and hiding their comments on young people’s posts.

Instagram is already restricted for use to people aged 13 and over, with the company developing artificial intelligence and machine-learning tech to profiles in order to apply age-appropriate features.

It’s also currently encouraging young people to set their profiles to Private rather than Public and offers a range of expert resources to help parents speak to their kids about social media safety. An Australia-specific Parent’s Guide is not yet available, but you can see the Kiwi one here.

On Twitter this morning, Head Of Instagram Adam Mosseri explained the company’s new policies.

“Protecting young people on Instagram is so important to us. Some updates on this work: restricting DMs between teens and adults they don’t follow, encouraging teens to make their accounts private, and prompting them to be careful in DMs.”

Hopefully these new initiatives keep creepy people TF away from teens online. It’s a really solid step to making the platform safe for vulnerable young people.