Instagram is a social media platform that started in 2010, and has had a significant impact on social media since introduced. It is one of the world’s most prominent social networks, with billions of monthly users. When you ask teenagers about social media, about 72% say they use Instagram. That is a lot of teens who use Instagram as their main social media app. However, this does raise the question, is Instagram safe for children?
What is Instagram?
Instagram is a social media app where you can share photos and videos with those who follow you. You can add different filters and effects to enhance your photos. In the latest updates, you can draw on photos, add your current location, display the temperature, add a quiz, include the time, add images in the picture… the list of features continues. Users can also direct message to whoever they want.
While scrolling through your feed, you can like and comment on other user’s profiles. As with any other social media platform that features photos and videos, it raises concerns for children.
As of right now, there is no way that a parent can have access to their child’s account without knowing the login information. A way to be able to monitor Instagram is by creating your own account and following their profile. You will not be able to see what photos they are liking or personal messages that are sent to them.
Dangers On The App
A major threat that have come to the surface on Instagram are “catfish” accounts. These profiles are people who are disguising who they really are. You may recognize the term from the television show on MTV.
This is a significant threat to children using the platform. They could be talking to someone who is telling them they are the same age, while in real life, they could be 50-years-old. Make sure your children know who they are following, not just someone that they met through social media or online games.
There’s a large amount of X-rated and inappropriate content on Instagram, that cannot be adequately filtered. This type of content is hidden from children for a reason. There needs to be a way to control what content on Instagram teenagers are allowed to view.
If your account is not on private, then your pictures can be viewed by anyone, anywhere in the world. So, if your child’s account is public, any criminal or creeper could view your child’s posts and they wouldn’t even know it.
Anyone Can Message You
The one flaw with Instagram is that anyone can send you a message via Instagram Direct. So, people who don’t even know your child could send them messages with sexual innuendos and other inappropriate content. Luckily, these messages can be blocked and reported.
There’s no way of escaping cyberbullies, especially on Instagram. Whether it’s your classmate or a stranger, anyone can comment hurtful things on your posts. As an Instagram user, don’t provoke them and just use the block or Restrict feature.
Protecting Your Child On Instagram
Apps like Instagram are filled with fake profiles, hackers, and other dangers. They are going to encounter people and content sometime while using Instagram. But, what can you do about it? Here are some of our recommendations.
Monitor Your Child’s Instagram Account
There are plenty of tools out there like Instagram monitoring apps that can be used by parents to keep an eye on their child’s account. By using them, you’ll be able to view their posts, posts they like, who likes their posts, and more. Monitoring their phone will also help you in understanding how much time they spend using Instagram.
Talk With Your Child About Instagram Privacy & Settings
I would strongly recommend having a discussion with your children about how to use Instagram, and all of the privacy settings and features that they can use. Go over things such as setting their profile to private, and how to block other users. On Instagram, if your account is not set to private, you can receive direct messages to your account from any other account.
Avoid Connecting Instagram To Third-Party App
Many times, Instagram allows a third-party to access the application for specific features. If you disable these applications from using your child’s account, it can help protect their account, photos or videos from being hacked.
Report Inappropriate Content
There is a very useful feature within Instagram where you can report any content you feel is inappropriate or offensive. By showing your children this feature, you can keep graphic or offensive content off of your child’s timeline.
Only Allow Them To Follow People They Know or Public Figures
Instagram is all about meeting new people, but not all have the best intentions. Make sure your child only follows people they know or public figures like celebrities or companies.
Should You Allow Your Children To Use Instagram?
I firmly believe that if your child is above the age of thirteen, then they are old enough to know how to use Instagram properly. As long you you educate them on the privacy features and the different types of threats within the app, it can be used safely.
Instagram has put many features into place to make sure that users information, photos, and videos are protected. For example, Instagram released its Restrict feature, which allows users to protect themselves from bullying and other unwanted comments.
Social media has and will continue to have an impact on our lives. Keeping your children hidden from these social media applications will only make them want to use it more. Instead, give them the knowledge so they can know how to protect themselves while using these platforms.
Related Post: Guide To Social Media Safety For Parents