Our Complete Guide to Instagram

Key Features

KeyFeature
Icon News Feed: InstaFeed

Teens can see the best moments in their friends lives, follow celebs, and get inspired when it comes to their interests and hobbies.

KeyFeature
Filter Icon: Filters

Teens love to experiment with filters and can transform photos into professional quality images.

KeyFeature
Hashtag Icon: Hashtags

Anyone can easily upload content—whether it’s any good is a whole other matter.

KeyFeature
Stories

Teens can create stories with photos and videos that will post to the  post to the top of your followers’ feeds. You can tag your friends, initiate a poll, and ask questions. These Insta Stories disappear within 24 hours.

KeyFeature
Instagram Direct

Teens use the direct messaging feature to share photos amongst a smaller group of friends.

Recommendations

Recommended Time

32 Minutes

Sleep
Recommended Age

16+

What Parents Should Know

Body Image

Because Instagram is “the place” to post the best photos, teens can get anxious about the number of likes and comments they receive which can make them especially body conscious when posting images of themselves.

Social Pressure

With social status measured by the number of likes and followers, teens who rack up a large following gain social currency. Teens often accept follow requests from strangers in the quest to appear popular. Teens expect their friends to show support for their posts with likes and comments, so when a post doesn’t perform well, teens will remove it in embarrassment. These highly curated profiles perpetuate the ‘perfect life’ syndrome.

Self Expression

Teens feature only their content which makes Instagram a favorite vehicle for self expression.

Porn/ Inappropriate Content

If your teen follows major sports stars or celebrities, he or she may get inappropriate follow requests with graphic hashtags.

Private Accounts

Because of the social pressure many teens feel about what they post, some create private accounts known as “FINSTAs” or Fake Instagram accounts so they can be more real with friends. 

How do I monitor my teen on Instagram?

No one wants another full-time job, but parents are well-advised to monitor their teens’ social media accounts.  The extent to which you do this is totally personal preference and based on your own parenting philosophy. Here are 7 methods:

When you block or delete a user that person is unable to view or comment on any of your posts. People aren’t notified when you block them.

  1. Create your own account and follow your teen.
  2. Turn on notifications from your teen’s profile to be updated every time he or she posts:
  • Go to their profile
  • In the top right, tap  
  • Tap Turn on Post Notifications 

You will not receive any other types of notifications.  

  1. To easily toggle between your and your teen’s account: 
  • Go to your profile and tap 
  • Tap  Settings.
  • Scroll to the bottom and tap Add Account.
  • Enter the username and password of the account you’d like to add.

     4. Periodically spot check your teen’s account by toggling to view Direct Message History, posting activity, and posts your teen is tagged in:

COLLAPSIBLE – To switch between accounts you’ve added:

  • Go to your profile.
  • Tap your username at the top of the screen.
  • Tap the account you’d like to switch to.

5. To check if your teen has multiple accounts, the best way is to go directly to his or her phone. Toggle between possible profiles, but by no means is this foolproof.

Add Protip Icon: Knowing your teen’s phone password or installing your thumbprint in Touch ID is always helpful.

6. Sign up for a social media monitoring tool such as Bark to be notified of any potential issues.  

7. Follow your kids’ friends (and be stealth about it).  

It’s not unheard of for teens to create FINSTA (Fake Instagram Accounts) accounts to sidestep parents’ watchful eyes, but they may also be seeking closer communication with a smaller group of friends. Setting clear expectations in a Family Media Contract is always a good policy.  Add Family Media Contract Icon and LINK TO FAMILY Media contract.

How do I make sure my teen’s account is private?

With a public account, anyone can follow your teen, but with a private account, your teen must first approve someone’s request.  

Parents who want to protect their teens’s privacy should ensure his or her account is set to private:  

  1. From the app,  go to your your child’s profile and tap  .
  2. Tap Settings and click on ‘Privacy and Security’.
  3. Tap Account Privacy then tap to toggle Private Account  to ‘ON’.

What Are Some Other Tips to Protect My Teen’s Privacy?

Parents may want to encourage their teens to:

  • Post photos without selecting location tag in Instagram
  • Make sure location sharing is turned off when posting photos
  • Restrict what information is shared on his or her bio (e.g. no phone numbers)
  • Require approval when friends want to tag your  teen in a photo
  • Turn off commenting on photos to prevent cyberbullying.

What Should I do if my child is being bullied or harassed?
When you block or delete a user that person is unable to view or comment on any of your posts. People aren’t notified when you block them.

  1. Block the user

You can block specific users to prevent them from contacting your teen directly, mentioning your teen in comments or tagging your teen in photos:

  • Tap their username to go to their profile
  • Tap  in the top right
  • Tap Block

2. Report an inappropriate post

  • Tap their username to go to their profile
  • Tap  in the top right
  • Tap Report
  • Then Choose if its a Spam or its Inappropriate

3. How Do I Temporarily Disable or Delete My Teen’s Account?

If you temporarily disable your account, your profile, photos, comments and likes will be hidden until you reactivate it by logging back in. To temporarily disable your account:

  • Log into instagram.com from a mobile browser or computer. You can’t temporarily disable your account from within the Instagram app.
  • Tap or click  in the top right and then select Edit Profile.
  • Scroll down, then tap or click Temporarily Disable My Account in the bottom right.
  • Select an option from the drop-down menu next to Why are you disabling your account? and re-enter your password. The option to disable your account will only appear after you’ve selected a reason from the menu.
  • Tap or click Temporarily Disable Account.

To permanently delete your account:

  • You must log in to Instagram.com from your computer or browser.  You can’t delete your account from within the Instagram app
  • Go to the Delete Your Account page
  • Select an option from the drop-down menu next to Why are you deleting your account? and re-enter your password. The option to permanently delete your account will only appear after you’ve selected a reason from the menu
  • Click or tap Permanently delete my account

 

What can I do if my teen is receiving inappropriate follow suggestions?

It’s nearly impossible to shield a teen from inappropriate content on Instagram. While the secrets to the algorithms are closely guarded, it is not unlikely that your teen will encounter some explicit content if he or she follows celebrities with big followings.

However, you can change the settings on your teen’s account and disable Similar Account Suggestions so that your teen stops receiving inappropriate suggestions for who to follow. Here’s how:

  1. Log into instagram.com from a desktop computer or your phone’s browser (this cannot be done via the Instagram app).
  2. Tap or click   in the top right, then select Edit Profile.
  3. Uncheck the box next to Similar Account Suggestions, then click Submit.

How Do I Keep Random People From Following My Teen?

Even if your teen has a private account, you should anticipate that your teen will still receive random follow requests.

To decline these requests, click on   in the bottom navigation and decline.

The Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA, prohibits social media sites from collecting personal data from children under 13 without parental consent. Instead of fulfilling the onerous requirements to obtain parental consent, social media companies elected to set 13 as the minimum age to use their platforms.

While it’s not illegal for children under 13 to use social media, there are the privacy and appropriate use concerns to consider. According to child psychologists, children under 13 are typically not developmentally ready to handle the complexities that arise with social media from posting etiquette and oversharing, to analyzing truth and validity.

A child’s readiness depends on his or her level of maturity and how prepared he or she is to handle the responsibility. Parents are well-advised to educate themselves and their children on the potential issues and be prepared to regularly engage with their children to discuss social media use.

See our Best Practices for Managing Social Media.

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