Instagram Lets Teens Limit Interactions to Close Friends

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Key Takeaways

  • Instagram's Limits can now restrict teens' interactions to Close Friends.
  • Users can also restrict what they see from someone without blocking them.
  • The company is trying to further protect teens against bullying and harassment.

Instagram is expanding its Limits feature to let teens restrict interactions to people marked as Close Friends, muting everyone else.

Teens will see that option enabled by default when they use Limits, but can also curb the interactions they see from recent followers or those accounts they aren’t already following. People affected by Limits can still participate — they just won’t appear in a given user’s feed.

The Restrict function will also let users limit the interactions with certain accounts without resorting to a block, including the ability to mention or tag that user. This theoretically helps in situations where a block is likely to provoke a hostile response.

All the new measures are meant to further address bullying and harassment. Ideally, teens won’t have to worry that an acquaintance will send vicious Instagram comments or messages, or use mentions and tags to indirectly harass them.

Instagram has been gradually ramping up the protections for younger users. In 2024, it barred adults from messaging teens that weren’t followers, and started testing automatic nudity blurring in direct messages. By default, teens can’t receive messages from people they aren’t connected to, and users under 16 default to private accounts.

Governments are nonetheless concerned about Instagram’s effects on teens. The attorneys general of 33 states sued Meta last October over worries Facebook and Instagram were hurting the mental and physical health of children. The European Union began an investigation this month into the possible addictive effects of Meta’s social networks for youth.

The Limits upgrade doesn’t address the concerns about compulsive use. It also doesn’t require limited interactions, so teens aren’t guaranteed to avoid trouble. However, it may help simply by creating a safe space on Instagram where teens can trust the people they see.