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A rise in smartphone use among elementary aged children also means a rise in cyberbullying. Keri Lumm shares an expert’s tips on how to help your kids.
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Social media has become a cesspool of bullying and hate, especially for young adults and teens. 

So, Instagram launched a feature Tuesday that lets users guard themselves against unwanted public interactions with trolls, haters and bullies who just want to incite an argument. 

The app’s newest feature called Restrict is designed especially for young people who “face a disproportionate amount of online bullying but are reluctant to report or block peers who bully them,” Instagram said.

The app will now allow everyone, including bullies, to selectively choose to restrict comments and messages from users who have been mean to you in the past. Most useful of all, the bully won’t even know you’ve semi-blocked them.  

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How it works

The photo-sharing app has introduced three ways to restrict people. You can either swipe left on a comment, open the Privacy tab in Settings or directly go to the problematic person’s profile.

Once Restrict is enabled, comments on your posts from a person you have restricted will only be visible to that person. (Photo: Instagram)

After it’s enabled, the comments you receive from that person will be visible only to that individual. If you want to view the quarantined comments, you can tap the “See Comment” option.

From there, you can either approve it for everyone to see, delete it or simply ignore it. You won’t receive any notifications for comments from a restricted account and messages from them will automatically shift into your Message Request folder. 

If that person changes behavior, you can always undo the tool, Instagram says. 

Studies show that cyberbullying has been on the rise across the world over the past several years. 

Instagram’s latest addition to the app comes amid a rise in cyberbullying nationwide, according to the National Center for Education Statistics.

A 2007 Pew Research study found 32% of teens have been victims of some type of online harassment. More recent data from the National Crime Prevention Council suggests that the number of those impacted by cyberbullying has swelled to 43%.

Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2019/10/03/instagram-cracks-down-cyber-bullying-new-restrict-feature/3850362002/