Our Complete Guide to Instagram
What are the key features of Instagram?
Teens can see the best moments in their friends lives, follow celebs, and get inspired when it comes to their interests and hobbies.
Teens love to experiment with filters and can transform photos into professional quality images.
Teens can create stories with photos and videos that will 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.
Teens use the direct messaging feature to communicate individually and with a small group of friends.
Teens use hashtags to find content and activity around topics they are interested in. Unfortunately, it can be easy for them to stumble upon inappropriate content.
Instagram now lets users choose who they want to share their Instagram stories with. A user can designate followers as “Close Friends,” and the feature offers a way to share more “personal” stories.
In an extensive study, Instagram users report being happy when spending up to 32 minutes per day on the app, and then shift into unhappy territory when they continue using beyond that point.
While it’s not illegal for children under 13 to use social media, parental consent is required. Otherwise, social media companies are prohibited by law from collecting personal data on children under 13.
Note: Parents can set a specific time limit by using Apple’s Screen Time. Click here to learn how to set this up.
What Parents Should Know
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.
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 to boost the appearance of popularity.. 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.
One in five 12-to-20-year-olds report that they’ve experienced bullying on Instagram. Instagram makes it easy to set up anonymous profiles, which can be used as a ‘Hate Page’. Much of the bullying occurs over group chats which cannot be easily monitored, Insta Stories which disappear after 24 hours, or in the comments section of friends photos. Some high schools have anonymous “Confession-style accounts where users submit gossip about other students at school.” What is particularly alarming is that the victim has no idea who’s behind the bullying and is powerless in getting the harassment to stop.
Teens feature only their content which makes Instagram a favorite vehicle for self-expression.
Inappropriate Follow Suggestions
If your teen follows major sports stars or celebrities, he or she may get inappropriate follow requests with graphic hashtags.
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. 60% of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 admit to having a secret account.
Unfortunately, Instagram is far from immune when it comes to predators. A social media monitoring service (i.e. Bark) reported 300 instances of child predation to the FBI in 2019 alone. In one example, they cited that 15 men initiated contact with an 11-year-old girl within two hours of her post.
In our testing, we simply typed #halloween, and look what came up (1st screenshot on the left).
#Sexy has over 27 million posts and there are dozens of porn hashtags with thousands of posts within them.
Tips for Parents: How to Protect Your Teen on Instagram
How do I protect my teen’s privacy?
Parents who want to protect their teens’s privacy should ensure his or her account is set to private. With a public account, anyone can follow your teen, but with a private account, your teen must first approve someone’s request.
How do I protect my teen from being bullied or harassed?
Instagram has released several new features to curtail bullying on the platform. While there’s no way to prevent another user from saying something unkind about your teen, there are a few steps you can take.
What Should I do if my child is being bullied or harassed?
How can I protect my teen from seeing mature content?
It’s nearly impossible to shield a teen from inappropriate content on Instagram, especially if he or she follows celebrities with a big fan base.
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 6 methods: