Social media site Instagram said Tuesday that it is updating its advertising and privacy policies to protect young users, a move influenced by the rising criticism over the photo-sharing app’s impact on teenagers’ mental health. 

The platform, which is owned by Facebook, said it would ensure that users under the age of 18 default into private accounts. They will also make it harder for “potentially suspicious accounts” to make contact with underage users as well as limit ad options targeting teens.

"Creating an experience on Instagram that's safe and private for young people, but also fun, comes with competing challenges," Instagram said in a blog post announcing the changes. "We want them to easily make new friends and keep up with their interests, but we don't want them to deal with unwanted DMs or comments from strangers."

Instagram has faced growing pressure from lawmakers, regulators, parents and advocates claiming the company has failed to adequately protect young users’ mental health and prevent them from sexual predators and bullying

Facebook and Instagram also said they are working on better methods of verifying users' ages to determine when policies for teens should apply, NPR noted.

“We want to strike the right balance of giving young people all the things they love about Instagram while also keeping them safe,” the statement read. 

As for young users who already have a public Instagram account, the photo-sharing app will send them notifications on the benefits of a private account and explain how to change their privacy settings. Users will have the options to choose whether they would like to make the switch.