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Instagram has taken a significant step toward protecting children and teens from falling victims to depraved adults on the social media platform.

The social media site, which is owned by Facebook, will block adults from direct messaging children if the minor doesn't already follow them.

Instagram announced the new changes on Tuesday.

Minors who follow adults on Instagram will also receive notices if the adult has "been exhibiting suspicious behavior," such as sending "a large amount of friend or message requests to people under 18."

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Other prompts will remind teens not to feel pressured to respond to adults who are messaging them, according to the website.

Instagram said in order to make the new changes work, children must provide their real age when signing up for a new account.

"We require everyone to be at least 13 to use Instagram and have asked new users to provide their age when they sign up for an account for some time," the announcement reads. "While many people are honest about their age, we know that young people can lie about their date of birth."
 

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2nd photo: Illustration by Lorenzo Di Cola/NurPhoto via Getty Images