It seems like tweens are starting to use social media earlier and earlier, which means bullies can follow them home in the form of cyberbullies. If social media bullying has kept you or your kids up at night, you’ll be relieved to know that Instagram is taking a firm stand to stop mean comments in their tracks.
In the past, Instagram has used technology, what the app calls “artificial intelligence,” to spot bullying in content and comments. Now, that tech can help victims of cyberbullying protect themselves from unwanted interactions with their aggressors, according to a press release from Instagram.
Instead of blocking, unfollowing or reporting a bully—which many young users feel could escalate an issue and put them even more so in the line of fire—users can now use Restrict to keep a bully out of their newsfeed without notifying him or her. Comments by the bully will only be visible to that person when they’re put on Restrict, and they won’t be able to see when you’re active on the app or when you’ve read their DMs.
Bullies are also being targeted by the app’s update. For the last few days, Instagram has also started alerting posters when their comment may be offensive. The comment gets highlighted and up pops a question: “Are you sure you want to post this?” This gives users (especially teens who sometimes have a tough time thinking about long-term consequences) a chance to undo a harmful comment before its posted.
We hope this inspires other social media platforms to tackle cyberbullying, and here’s hoping our kids will treat their peers with respect online.