What Is Instagram?
Instagram is a social media platform that focuses on posting photos and videos. The app is owned by Facebook and has a billion users around the world. It is popular among influencers, businesses, and for personal use, and produces revenue for businesses through ads and sponsored posts that appear on a user’s feed.
Instagram’s explore page is where the app’s algorithm produces posts they think the user will be interested in. So, a user is can easily see and like posts belonging to users, they haven’t interacted with or followed. There is also a direct message option for people to message another user.
With the ease of being able to see a user’s content and connect with strangers, it’s important parents do what they can to protect their child on the app.
Instagram Parental Controls
Since Instagram is such a popular app, there are a lot of kids and teens who are using it. Kids are getting smartphones at an earlier age than ever before, and there are kids on Instagram as young as 10 or 11. Parents whose kids are using Instagram are going to want to take steps to ensure their safety and keep them away from the dangers of cyberbullying, online predators, inappropriate content, and privacy.
Instagram has several built-in functions that can help parents keep their kids safe. They have the option to block other users, limit comments on their child’s posts, and set an account to private so only approved users can see the account’s posts. They have also taken strides to prevent cyberbullying on their app, and recently added the Supervision which includes a Family Center for parents to oversee their teens’ accounts.
Setting an account to private is an excellent first step that parents can take in keeping their kids safe on Instagram. There are also features phone companies offer like the Screen Time settings for iOS devices that can help parents limit a child’s access to apps, including Instagram.
Setting Your Child’s Instagram Account To Private
One of the first steps a parent can take in keeping their child safe on Instagram is making the account private. This prevents those who are not following the account from seeing the posts. To set the account to private, click the profile picture in the top right. Now click the three-line icon and click Settings at the bottom. Now select Privacy → Toggle the button next to Private account to make the account private.
The latest Instagram parental control added is Supervision. With it, teens can send parents a link allowing them access to oversee and control their Instagram accounts. Once the link is sent, the parent must accept it and can view their teen’s account in the Family Center through their Instagram account. This can be used on account of teenagers 13-17 years old. Through Supervisions parents can (as said by Meta):
- View how much time their teens spend on Instagram and set time limits.
- Be notified when their teen shares they’ve reported someone.
- View and receive updates on what accounts their teens follow and the accounts that follow their teens.
One feature a child should not use while they are posting on Instagram is location tagging. For example, your child can add where they are in a post such as a local restaurant. If your child tags their location too frequently, it makes it easier for predators or stalkers to get in contact with them.
Disabling location tagging cannot be done within the Instagram app. Parents can either turn the phone’s location services off or change the location permissions Instagram specifically has.
Block An Account
Blocking accounts is another step parents can take to help keep kids safe while they are using Instagram. It is also a great way to help prevent cyberbullying or unwanted interactions with certain accounts. To block an account on Instagram, go to the account by clicking their name or by searching for the account. Now click the three-dot icon in the top right and click Block when the menu pops up. Now confirm by clicking Block again. Once a user is blocked, they will not be able to send messages to the account or even see any of their posts.
If a person is harassing your child, you will want to both block and report their account.
Report A Post
One thing a parent can do to help keep Instagram safer is to report specific posts. This is okay to do if the Instagram post contains explicit or violent not suitable to be seen by any users. To report a post, tap the three-dot icon of a certain post, select Report, and follow the prompts that are given.
Turn Off Commenting
To prevent your child from being harassed by cyberbullies or strangers on Instagram, you will want to turn off their comments. With this, people will not be able to comment on their posts. To disable comments for a specific post, navigate to that post and select the three-dot icon. Then, select Turn Off Commenting. Unfortunately, there is no universal setting to disable all post comments. It has to be done on a post-by-post basis.
Instagram has several settings within Privacy parents can utilize to restrict and protect their children’s Instagram accounts. These are accessible by going to their profile → click on the hamburger menu (three horizontal lines) → Settings → Privacy.
- Limits: Restrict an account from receiving unwanted or harassing comments and messages from recent followers and accounts that aren’t following you for a specific amount of time.
- Hidden Words: Protect your child from viewing and receiving comments and messages with offensive words. Specifically, you can hide comments with offensive language, apply advanced comment filtering, hide message requests, and create a list of customer words and phrases to filter out.
- Comments: Control who to allow and block comments from.
- Posts: Decide who to accept post tags from, to receive requests from shops, and to hide like and view counts.
- Mentions: Select to allow mentioned from everyone, people you follow, or no one.
- Story: Device who can reply to stories and if you want to allow sharing of stories and messages.
- Reels & Remix controls: Select to allow or not allow remixing of reels and feed videos, and enable or disable Recommended on Facebook.
- Live: Choose to hide live videos from specific people.
- Message controls: Control who potential connections can be.
- Connection: View all restricted, blocked, and muted accounts, along with accounts they follow.
Keeping Kids Safe on Instagram
Instagram can be a dangerous app for kids, that is why the platform recommends only kids 13-year-old and above use it. There are cyberbullies, scammers, sexual predators, and more that parents and kids need to be on the lookout for. By using the above tips and parental controls, you can ensure your child’s safety while using Instagram.