Understanding the effects of Meta’s parental supervision tools on marketers.

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, has taken a significant step toward enhancing online safety for teenagers by introducing a set of parental supervision tools for its Messenger platform. These tools were globally launched on August 31, 2023, to provide parents with valuable insights into their teen’s Messenger activities while respecting their privacy. This development reinforces Meta’s commitment to youth safety and has implications for marketers targeting this demographic.

To foster a safer digital environment for young users, Meta unveiled these parental supervision tools during its Youth Safety Summit held from August 29 to 30 in Singapore. The event brought together renowned safety experts and organizations across the Asia Pacific region, including BRAC, ECPAT International, Netsafe, UNICEF, and the Stairway Foundation.

Antigone Davis, Meta’s Global Head of Safety, stated, “Over the years, we’ve developed more than 30 tools to support families, including supervision tools that help parents and teens work together to manage teens’ time on our apps. We’re committed to ensuring teens have age-appropriate experiences across our technologies, and we’ll continue working with safety experts as we build tools for young people and their families.”

Here’s a closer look at the features of Meta’s new parental supervision tools for Messenger:

  1. Updates on Messenger Contact List

Parents and guardians can receive notifications about changes to their teen’s Messenger contact list. This provides insight into who their child is communicating with, ensuring a more transparent online experience.

2. Privacy and Safety Settings

Parents can access updates regarding their teen’s privacy and safety settings. This includes changes made to settings that affect the overall safety of the Messenger experience.

3. Reporting Notifications

Parents will be notified if a teen reports someone on Messenger (provided they choose to share this information). This feature empowers parents to stay informed about potential issues their child may encounter online.

4. Message Recipients

Parents can monitor who can send messages to their teens. This allows them to set restrictions, ensuring that only friends, friends of friends, or no one can message their child. If these settings are altered by the teen, parents will be alerted.

5. Messenger Stories Visibility

Parents can also monitor who can view their teen’s Messenger stories. This feature helps maintain control over their child’s content with the world.

Meta’s dedication to enhancing online safety extends beyond Messenger. The company has introduced various features and protections over the years to create safer and more private experiences for teenagers. These measures include stricter controls on how advertisers can target teens and limiting the information used for teen-focused ads on the platform. Additionally, Meta has provided teens with more tools to manage their Instagram experience responsibly.

What Meta’s Parental Supervision Means To Marketers

The introduction of Meta’s parental supervision tools on Messenger not only serves as a crucial step in enhancing online safety but also carries significant implications for marketers looking to connect with the teenage demographic. Here’s a closer look at how these tools may impact marketers:

1. Heightened Privacy Awareness

With parents gaining more insight into their teen’s online interactions, teenagers may become more cautious about their digital footprint. This increased privacy awareness could lead to a more discerning and selective approach to engaging with brands and advertisements.

2. Altered Targeting Dynamics

As parental supervision tools give parents greater control over who can communicate with their teens, marketers may need to fine-tune their targeting strategies. This could create a more challenging landscape for reaching teenage audiences, requiring marketers to prioritize more transparent and respectful engagement.

3. Ethical Advertising Practices

Marketers must navigate the delicate balance between reaching their target audience and respecting the privacy and safety of teenagers. Introducing these tools emphasizes the need for ethical advertising practices that prioritize user safety and well-being.

4. Opportunities for Education

Meta’s commitment to educating parents, guardians, educators, and teens through the Family Center allows marketers to align their strategies with educational content. Brands can contribute to the conversation by providing resources and content that promote responsible digital engagement.


Meta’s parental supervision tools represent a shift toward a safer online environment for teenagers. While these tools may pose challenges for marketers targeting this demographic, they also present ethical engagement and education opportunities. As Meta continues to prioritize safety and privacy, marketers must adapt their strategies to navigate the evolving landscape of online advertising to reach teenagers responsibly and ethically, respecting their privacy and well-being. For more information on parental supervision tools and online safety across Meta’s apps, users can visit the Facebook Family Center. The Family Center features an Education Hub that offers resources, expert advice, informative articles, videos, and tips for parents, guardians, educators, and teenagers. Topics covered include how to have constructive conversations with teens and their peers about social media.