Posted inSocial MediaNews

New Report Finds the Majority of Parents Aren’t Doing *THIS* 2024

Fewer than 10% of parents have activated parental controls on social media platforms


Privacy Controls in Social Apps

Here’s a general truth worth mentioning in social media evaluation: While social networks offer a variety of tools to assist users curate, manage, and modify their in-app experience, most people never use them, regardless of how useful or beneficial they are.

We’ve seen this before, with ad controls, feed preferences, and privacy options. Social platforms now offer a wide range of options for managing your experience. However, people rarely put them into action.

That’s especially crucial to consider when it comes to shielding younger users from harmful exposure in social apps, as a Washington Post survey released today confirms that only a small percentage of parents ever use control tools to monitor their children’s social app usage.

As per the report:

“By the end of 2022, less than 10 percent of teens on Meta’s Instagram had enabled the parental supervision setting, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private company matters. Of those who did, only a single-digit percentage of parents had adjusted their kids’ settings.”

You’d think this would be a bigger priority according to the report, but it’s plainly too time-consuming or technically challenging for most parents to deal with. However, as previously stated, this also applies to other control choices and tools that are present in the stream.

For example, previous research reports have shown that the vast majority of social media users never update their privacy settings, whereas a survey conducted just four years ago, in 2019, the report revealed that 74% of Facebook users were unaware that the app kept track of their traits and interests.

Even huge news items about privacy and security do not have the impact that one would expect.

Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the report, which revealed how people’s personal Facebook data had been used in a (seemingly) complex program designed to sway voting preferences based on inherent behaviors and traits, only 54% of Facebook users changed their app’s privacy settings, according to the report.

Tools Not Being Updated

Even though the tools are readily available, most people simply go with the flow. This is a worry for parents and young users who may be putting themselves at risk, but it’s also worth considering in terms of broader usage behaviors and how people interact with various features in social apps.

Most people use the new “For You” feeds, which now include more and more recommended posts, rather than just updates from the profiles you follow. Most people do not change their privacy settings to secure their personal information. Most people do not bother to opt out of specific ad categories.

iOS 14 rules

The exception would most likely be Apple’s iOS 14 upgrade, which requested all iOS users explicitly whether they wanted to allow certain apps to track their activity.


The automated, upfront message, as well as the language of the two options on screen, caused many users to disable data tracking for various apps, having a significant influence on the whole digital advertising business, according to the report.

Overall Takeaway

However, it is worth mentioning that with each platform update, with every new tool that allows them to opt out of anything, users can change their display, adjust their settings, potentially disconnecting them from some components. These adjustments are implemented by the platforms with the expectation that they will have no impact on usage.

Because most people just won’t bother, so the next time you notice that Meta has incorporated some new privacy setting, or some new tool that allows individuals to turn off data tracking,

Just keep in mind that most of this is public relations, with the goal of appeasing regulators. They know no one will utilize them.

This is worth noting this week, when representatives from Meta, Snapchat, TikTok, and X testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the growing risk of child sexual exploitation online.

Of course, platforms cannot force people to take more action on these elements on an individual basis. However, like with the Apple example, there are more effective ways to persuade people to take direct action, so they may opt for greater responsiveness on this front.

Stay updated on all of the latest news by subscribing to the ITP Live newsletter below and by clicking the push notifications.