Facebook holding company Meta launched a new Family Centre Hub in South Africa at the end of June. This was announced at the Meta Africa Youth Safety Summit 2023 in Johannesburg.
The hub is aimed at the youth and their parents to help them stay safe online and manage the amount of time they spend scrolling on the phones, especially on social media apps like Instagram, Facebook, and Messenger.
Sylvia Musalagani, Safety Policy Manager for Africa, Middle East, and Turkey at Meta says: “It’s only by taking a holistic approach, by offering comprehensive resources and effective methods to set and monitor boundaries, that we can make a real difference in young people’s lives. We want to help them connect and foster relationships in a safe and secure environment.”
South Africa is the first country in Africa to get a local Family Centre Hub, which can be accessed here.
Apart from the tips detailed below, there are additional resources like safety centre and transparency centre. The advisor section has articles about cyberbullying and sensitive content, and the ability to understand misinformation.
1. Supervision tools for families
Parents can keep track of their kids online using Meta’s supervision tools, which lets them actively participate in their digital activities. Parents can monitor who their teens are following, who follows them, and how much time they spend on the platform. Setting a daily limit will also help manage time spent scrolling on social media.
2. Articles on the Education Hub
When it comes to online safety, sometimes parents don’t know where to turn. The Family Centre Hub has an education hub with useful info from trusted sources such as ParentZone, NAMLE, and ConnectSafely. These organisations provide insights, tips, and articles for digital wellness; safety and privacy; relationships and communication; and media literacy and misinformation.
3. Forming Healthy Habits
According to We Are Social and Meltwater’s Global Digital Report 2023, South Africans spend the longest time online when compared to other countries. We are connected for an average of 9 hours and 38 minutes daily on any device. These alarming stats could easily be passed onto kids, and to that end, Meta offers tools to develop healthy habits.
These tools include:
Take a Break: This lets you control how much time you spend on the app, with suggestions from Instagram to take more breaks.
Quiet Mode: This helps users stay focused and set boundaries with followers and friends. When activated you won’t receive notifications, and your activity status will change to inform others you’re in ‘quiet mode’. You will also auto-reply when you get a DM.
4. Privacy by default
A key feature on any platform these days, but for anyone under the age of 16 years old, they will have specific settings turned on by default. Features include choosing who can see your friends list, the people and Pages you follow, posts you’ve been tagged in, and who can comment on public posts.
With a number of different resources available, the Meta Family Centre aims to help you foster your teen’s autonomy while offering a more positive online experience for them and peace of mind for you.