In an era where digital interactions form a significant part of our social lives, platforms like Instagram play a crucial role in shaping these exchanges. With the introduction of the new feature called Restrict, Instagram has taken a significant step forward in its anti-bullying efforts. This tool aims to empower users by giving them more control over how they interact with others on the platform, particularly in managing unwanted interactions and mitigating cyberbullying. Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram, has emphasized that the Restrict feature is designed to help users discreetly protect their space without the escalation that might occur from blocking or confronting a bully openly. This introduction will explore how the Restrict feature works, its importance in the fight against online bullying, and its impact on the community, setting the stage for a deeper dive into the practical application and benefits of this pivotal tool.

How to use instagram restrict feature to combat bullying

Understanding the Instagram Restrict Feature

What is the Instagram Restrict Feature?

Instagram’s new feature called Restrict is designed as a tool to combat cyberbullying effectively and subtly. It allows users to quietly limit how a person can interact with them on the platform. When you restrict a user, their comments on your posts will only be visible to them unless you approve them, and their direct messages will go to your message request box without triggering a read receipt. This feature provides a way to shield oneself from harm without alerting the aggressor that they have been restricted, which can prevent further conflict.

The Evolution of Instagram’s Anti-Bullying Tools

Instagram has consistently worked to improve its platform and make it safer for all users. Over the years, the company, under the leadership of Adam Mosseri, has rolled out various features aimed at reducing harassment and bullying on Instagram. The new restrict feature is a part of this ongoing effort, building on previous initiatives such as the ability to filter offensive comments and the option to delete comments in bulk. Mosseri said that these features are essential in their mission to help stop bullying and promote a more supportive environment. Notably, Instagram has also partnered with Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center to enhance these tools and ensure they meet the needs of users, particularly younger audiences who are often at a higher risk of encountering bullying online.

In addition to technical solutions, Instagram has engaged with the community through initiatives like the Teen Bullying Prevention Design Workshop. These workshops have helped gather feedback directly from users, particularly teens, who often experience bullying firsthand. Such engagements have been pivotal in shaping the tools that Instagram develops, ensuring they are both effective and user-friendly.

Prevalence of Cyberbullying: A 2023 study indicates that approximately 55% of middle and high school students in the U.S. reported experiencing cyberbullying at some point in their lives, with 27% having been cyberbullied in the last 30 days. Types of bullying online reported include mean or hurtful comments (30.4%), exclusion from group chats (28.9%), and online rumors (28.4%)​ (Cyberbullying Research Center)​.

Why It’s Important to Combat Bullying on Instagram

The Impact of Bullying on Instagram Users

Bullying on social media, and particularly on platforms like Instagram, can have profound psychological effects on individuals. The nature of online bullying often involves relentless harassment that can follow victims everywhere, unlike traditional bullying that might be restricted to school or workplace environments. Studies indicate that victims of cyberbullying can experience a range of emotional disturbances, from anxiety and depression to severe stress and lowered self-esteem. This underscores the critical need for features like Instagram’s Restrict, which provides users with a tool to manage their interactions more safely and discreetly, aiming to reduce the mental and emotional toll associated with these negative experiences.

Insights from Adam Mosseri on Instagram’s Policies

Adam Mosseri, the Head of Instagram, has been vocal about the platform’s commitment to fight against online bullying. Under his leadership, Instagram has focused on developing features that not only prevent bullying but also promote a culture of kindness and respect among users. Mosseri said that tools like Restrict and others are part of a broader strategy to make Instagram a safe space for all users, particularly teens and young adults who are more vulnerable to online harassment. He also highlighted that the development of these tools is an ongoing process driven by user feedback and collaboration with organizations dedicated to bullying prevention, such as Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center. This partnership aims to ensure that Instagram remains at the forefront of technological advancements in social media safety.

How to Use the Restrict Feature on Instagram

Step-by-Step Guide to Restrict Someone

Using the Restrict feature on Instagram is a straightforward process designed to empower users to manage their interactions without confrontation. Here’s how you can restrict someone on Instagram:

  1. Navigate to the profile of the account you want to restrict. You can do this by searching for their username or tapping on their name wherever it appears.
  2. Tap the three dots in the upper right corner of the profile.
  3. From the menu that appears, select “Restrict.”
  4. Confirm your choice by selecting “Restrict Account” in the popup.

Alternatively, you can restrict a user directly from comments on your posts:

  • Swipe left on the comment you want to manage.
  • Tap the “!” icon.
  • Choose “Restrict” from the options presented.

You can also manage this setting through the privacy tab in settings, where you can see a list of all restricted accounts and make adjustments as needed.

Using the Restrict feature on Instagram is a straightforward process

Differences Between Restrict, Block, and Report Features

While Restrict is focused on giving users control without escalating the situation, Instagram provides other tools like Block and Report for more severe situations:

  • Block: Completely prevents the blocked person from viewing your profile, starting conversations with you, or seeing any of your posts or stories.
  • Report: Should be used to alert Instagram of severe misconduct, which they will review and take appropriate action. This is suitable for more explicit threats or violations of Instagram’s community guidelines.
  • Restrict: Is ideal for managing less aggressive unwanted interactions where blocking might feel too severe, or you do not want to escalate the situation by letting the person know they’ve been restricted.

Understanding these options allows users to tailor their approach to privacy and interaction on the platform, ensuring they feel safe and in control of their social media environment.

Real-Life Applications: How Restricting Can Prevent Bullying

Examples of Effective Usage

The Restrict feature has been instrumental in helping numerous Instagram users manage interactions without exacerbating conflicts. For instance, teens have used this feature to discreetly handle peer pressure and subtle bullying, which often occurs in the comments of public posts. By restricting bullies, their comments are not visible to the public but still visible to them, which helps prevent the bullies from realizing they have been restricted and possibly retaliating.

Another common scenario involves public figures and influencers who often face a barrage of unsolicited criticism and negative comments. The Restrict feature allows them to maintain a positive space on their profiles by controlling which comments appear publicly. This not only helps in maintaining mental well-being but also preserves the quality of discourse on their posts.

Cyberbullying Impact on Mental Health: Cyberbullying has significant impacts on mental health, with two-thirds of affected individuals experiencing issues like stress, depression, anxiety, and loss of empathy​ (Techjury)​.

Testimonials and Success Stories

The effectiveness of Instagram’s Restrict feature is reflected in numerous user stories shared online and through Instagram’s own channels. For example, a high school student reported feeling empowered after using Restrict to handle a bully who was leaving hurtful comments under her posts. She mentioned that this feature helped her avoid a direct confrontation, which she feared could worsen the situation.

Moreover, Instagram has shared insights from their partnership with the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, where they bring to life poster ideas developed during the Teen Bullying Prevention Design Workshop. These posters, which promote the use of features like Restrict, have been distributed to thousands of schools and community centers across the U.S., spreading awareness and encouraging other teens to take proactive steps in managing their social media interactions.

The effectiveness of Instagram’s Restrict feature is reflected in numerous user stories

Future of Instagram’s Features Against Bullying

Upcoming Updates and New Features

Instagram is continuously evolving its platform to better serve the needs of its diverse user base. Looking ahead, Adam Mosseri has hinted at future updates that will build upon the existing anti-bullying features. These enhancements are expected to introduce more sophisticated AI tools that can detect bullying behavior more effectively and offer preemptive options for users to handle potential bullying situations before they escalate. Instagram is also exploring ways to expand the functionality of the Restrict feature, making it even more user-friendly and effective in safeguarding users’ mental health.

How Instagram Plans to Further Combat Online Bullying

The commitment of Instagram to combat online bullying extends beyond just technological solutions. Adam Mosseri and his team are dedicated to creating a community where respect and kindness are at the forefront of every interaction. To this end, Instagram continues to work closely with organizations like PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center and other industry leaders to enhance their approach to bullying prevention. Educational campaigns and workshops are part of this strategy, aimed at raising awareness and educating users about the tools available to them, like Restrict, to manage their online interactions safely.

Moreover, Instagram is focusing on creating a culture where users feel empowered to stand up to bullying. By promoting positive interaction and providing the tools to manage and prevent harassment, Instagram is setting a standard for what a safe and supportive online environment should look like for all social media platforms.

As someone who has been on the receiving end of cyberbullying through Instagram, I’ve felt the weight of each hostile comment and unsolicited message. The constant barrage of negative interactions began to erode my confidence and peace of mind, making me dread logging into my account.

Empowering the Instagram Community to Tackle Bullying

How Instagram’s Features Encourage User Participation

Instagram’s commitment to combat bullying extends beyond mere functionality; it seeks to empower its users to take an active role in shaping a supportive online community. The Restrict feature is a prime example of a tool designed not only to protect individuals but to encourage them to participate in anti-bullying efforts without fear of exacerbating the situation. By allowing users to approve comments so everyone can see or to keep them hidden, Instagram gives control back to the user, supporting a proactive approach to handling harassment.

By allowing users to approve comments so everyone can see or to keep them hidden

Community Involvement and Real-Life Impact

Instagram says that its ongoing updates and new features like Restrict are results of direct feedback from the community, including insights from workshops and partnerships with organizations focused on bullying prevention. For instance, the Teen Bullying Prevention Design Workshop this year played a crucial role in understanding the needs and experiences of younger users, who are often more vulnerable to bullying.

The introduction of features like Restrict also reflects Instagram’s larger strategy to involve users in its safety initiatives. By rolling out new features that users can test and provide feedback on, Instagram ensures that its tools are both effective and user-centric. Additionally, Instagram encourages users to share how they use their creative talents to stand up against bullies, fostering an environment where positive actions are highlighted and celebrated.

Visibility and Impact on Public Discourse

When users choose to approve a comment so everyone can see, they engage in a form of public discourse that can help to educate others about the nature of bullying and appropriate responses to it. This visibility can be a powerful deterrent to bullies and a reassurance to victims that they are not alone. Moreover, the feature to protect users from unwanted interactions through hidden comments and message controls ensures that bullies are less likely to disrupt the social media experience for others.

Through strategic updates and the integration of community feedback, Instagram continues to position itself as a leader in the fight against bullying online. By testing Restrict and other tools, Instagram not only addresses the immediate issue of abuse on the platform but also contributes to a larger societal shift towards greater digital civility and mutual respect.

When I started using Instagram’s Restrict feature, I noticed an immediate change in my online interactions. Being able to control which comments appear on my posts and manage who can contact me directly has given me a sense of control and significantly reduced the anxiety that used to come with each notification.


In the digital age, where online interactions can often replace face-to-face connections, the safety and integrity of social media environments are paramount. Instagram’s introduction of the Restrict feature signifies a pivotal step in combating cyberbullying and promoting a healthier, more respectful online community. By allowing users to discreetly manage how others interact with them, Instagram is providing essential tools for individuals to protect themselves without escalating situations. As we’ve seen, this feature, coupled with ongoing updates and community engagement efforts led by Adam Mosseri, highlights Instagram’s commitment to not just being a platform for sharing but also a safe space for interaction.

Moving forward, as Instagram continues to innovate and partner with leading organizations in bullying prevention, the platform is well-positioned to lead the industry in the fight against bullying. For users, understanding and utilizing features like Restrict is crucial in taking control of their online presence and ensuring that their experience on Instagram remains positive and empowering.

Instagram continues to innovate and partner with leading organizations in bullying prevention

Frequently Asked Questions

How does Instagram’s Restrict feature help in dealing with bullying?

Instagram’s Restrict feature allows you to control how others interact with you without making it obvious to them. When you restrict someone, their comments on your posts are only visible to them unless you approve them. This means you can avoid escalating the situation while still keeping an eye on what’s being said. This feature is particularly useful for those who are reluctant to openly block or report peers who bully.

What happens to direct messages when I restrict an account on Instagram?

When you restrict someone on Instagram, their direct messages are moved to your message requests. Importantly, the restricted user will not be able to see when you’ve read their messages, providing you with more control and privacy over your interactions.

Can everyone see a comment from a restricted account on my posts?

No, when you restrict a user, their comments on your posts are only visible to them until you decide to approve the comment. This allows you to review and choose whether or not to make their comments visible to everyone, helping to prevent any hurtful content from affecting others.

What new anti-bullying features is Instagram currently testing or rolling out?

Instagram is continuously evolving its tools to combat bullying and enhance user safety. Recently, they’ve been testing features that make it easier to block multiple bullies at once and tools that alert users when their comments may be considered offensive before they post them. These initiatives are part of Instagram’s broader efforts to create a more positive and supportive online environment.

How can the Instagram community benefit from the new Restrict feature in the fight against online bullying?

The new Restrict feature empowers Instagram users to manage their personal space more effectively by discretely handling bullies. This can significantly reduce the stress and anxiety associated with confronting bullies directly. By enabling users to control their interactions, Instagram helps foster a safer, more respectful community. Additionally, the feature’s discreet nature encourages more people to take action against bullies without fear of retaliation, contributing to a broader cultural shift towards tackling and preventing online abuse.

Author Bio

Ellen Bartolino

As a seasoned author and communication expert, Ellen specializes in Instagram with a deep understanding of the platform. Her expertise has enabled her to produce captivating and impactful content for both businesses and individuals.

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