New Instagram Features, Sexual Harassment in Schools, Text Scams & More



Photo-sharing app Instagram has announced a suite of new features designed to help young people and their parents manage the amount of time they spend scrolling on the app.

Teenage users will be sent notifications advising them to take a break after spending an extended time on the app, while parents can access data on how much time their children use Instagram each day.

The notifications will include tips from experts and create an educational “knowledge hub” for parents and guardians, according to the announcement.

The announcement comes as Instagram owner, Meta, has come under increasing pressure to show that it is taking all necessary steps to reduce the potential for harm to younger users.

An investigation by American watchdog the Tech Transparency Project found that users as young as 13 were able to find deadly drugs on sale through Instagram with just two clicks, while teenage users who followed drug dealer accounts on Instagram were recommended to follow other drug dealer accounts through the platform’s algorithm.

Instagram CEO, Adam Mosseri, appeared before a Senate hearing on Wednesday over how the app is protecting young and vulnerable users.

Mosseri called for a new regulatory body in the US to oversee how social media companies can stop young people from experiencing harm on their platforms.

“The internet isn’t going away, and I believe there’s important work that we can do together – industry and policymakers – to raise the standards across the internet to better serve and protect young people,” Mosseri said.


School pupils in Wales are regularly pressured into sending nude photos by their peers, a study has found.

The study, by training inspectorate Estyn, also found that teenage girls are frequently harassed over the length of their skirts.

Over 60% of girls and 29% of boys surveyed said they had experienced sexual harassment by their peers, with some saying that incidents reported to staff were often dismissed because “boys will be boys.”

The report “highlights the uncomfortable truth about the prevalence of peer-on-peer sexual harassment in our schools and that children often share their experiences with friends rather than their teachers,” Education Minister Jeremy Miles told the BBC.

“It is only through honest conversations that we can work together to tackle these issues.”

In its report, Estyn recommends that secondary schools should “Recognise that peer-on-peer sexual harassment is highly prevalent in the lives of young pupils and adopt a whole-school preventative and proactive approach to dealing with it,” while local authorities should “Work with schools to collect and categorise and analyse all bullying and harassment data correctly and comprehensively.”


People who click links inside fake delivery text messages risk having money stolen from their bank accounts, according to new warnings issued by UK-based bank, TSB.

Fraudsters posing as popular delivery companies like Royal Mail and DPD send texts containing links to pages in which unsuspecting victims are asked to confirm their personal details.

The information gathered is used in a follow-up call asking customers to move their money into a safe account.

Delivery customers have lost as much as £7,000 through the scams, according to TSB.

“Fraudsters are changing their methods all the time … it’s important to remain on guard,” said TSB’s director of fraud prevention, Paul Davis.

“Never input personal details into an SMS link, and certainly not your card details. Spread the word – don’t let a fraudster ruin your Christmas.”


UK media regulator Ofcom has announced a string of new advertising rules for video sharing platforms (VSPs) such as TikTok and Snapchat.

Under the new rules, VSPs will be expected to regulate advertising that is not controlled by them – such as sponsored posts by individual users – to ensure that it meets the same standards of user protection as their own adverts.

The announcement follows a consultation by Ofcom on how to better regulate content published on VSPs to ensure that it doesn’t cause harm to children or vulnerable people.

The rules will be jointly enforced between Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).

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