People across all generations chase for the perfect shot, a great photo that’s worthy to be posted on one’s Instagram account. Instagram is the go-to social media platform when it comes to keeping tabs on friends, family, celebrities, and social media influencers. Besides Snapchat and TikTok, kids and teens often utilize Instagram to post and browse.
But, what are the dangers of Instagram, and what can be done to protect a person against them? We address this and more below.
What Is Instagram?
Instagram is a social media platform that allows the sharing of photos and videos. After creating an account, users can start following friends or whoever they like. Users have the option to create a public account (viewable by anyone) or a private account (viewable by only followers). Users can follow friends, celebrities, and other influencers, and send private or direct messages. Instagram is also considered a great app for self-expression, showcasing one’s artistic side, and meeting those with similar interests.
With this all being said, Instagram is more appealing to teens due to its photo-forward format. Other features that lure people into utilizing Instagram are the following;
- Instagram Stories are 15-second videos or slide shows that are separate from other posts.
- Instagram TV (IGTV) are longer videos programmed by Instagram, similar to YouTube.
- Disappearing Messages are timed photos or video messages that are only viewable once by the recipient.
- Direct Messages (DMs) are private messages sent to any Instagram user.
Knowing The Dangers of Instagram
Although there are several positives of utilizing Instagram, there are downsides. Being online attracts various threats and dangers. While you can’t eradicate the threats, it greatly helps to know about them.
Here are some of the dangers of having an Instagram account.
Instagram contains all sorts of content that isn’t filtered; this includes adult content and other inappropriate photos or videos. Friends or those you follow could post photos that are too revealing. There may also be triggering photos or videos like violent images. Such content is not only inappropriate but can be harmful to young people’s developing minds.
Compromised privacy typically occurs in two ways: By the users themselves and by hackers. An innocent post or DM can be taken and twisted by someone and turned into something ugly and harmful. With hackers, they can simply take over your account or steal your information and create fake accounts utilizing your name. They could then utilize such fake accounts in scamming friends and creating lewd or inappropriate Instagram posts. These acts will not only compromise your privacy but also your identity and integrity.
Social media platforms, including Instagram, are full of posts from so-called social media influencers. To be clear, this is not always a bad thing. Some social media app influencers are a great inspiration to people.
However, there are instances where such people can be a bad influence. This includes people on Instagram who document their extravagant lives which may lead children or teens to covet the same lifestyle. They force their parents to provide them with the same things or worse, resort to leading a fake life on Instagram. Some influencers post heavily edited photos which can give their followers, especially teens and young women, impossible beauty and body standards.
Cyberbullies and Cybercriminals
The internet is full of cyberbullies and cybercriminals. Users could fall victim to such people, especially if their accounts are public. Cyberbullies can leave harsh and hateful comments on posts or even send threatening and/or abusive messages.
If you’re not careful enough, you may also fall victim to posers, predators, scammers, and the like. Online strangers, especially those with dark agendas, are effective at manipulating others into divulging important and even sensitive data.
Instagram includes attractive features to lure users into spending hours on it – from taking the perfect Insta-shots to scrolling through posts and viewing stories. It is rather impossible to spend just a few minutes checking one’s feed. Most of the time, people don’t even realize how long they’ve been on the app. In this sense, the photo-sharing app can be very addictive and increase one’s screen time.
Dealing With Instagram Dangers
As mentioned, the dangers of utilizing Instagram can’t be eradicated because we want them gone. What we can do is take some measures to keep such dangers at bay.
Be Mindful Of Privacy
Most of the dangers can be avoided by simply being extra careful when it comes to privacy. This includes changing your Instagram account to private. This will allow those who follow you to only see your posts and stories. If your account is public, you are more prone to negative cyber acts.
It will also greatly help to be mindful of your posts and the personal information shared with strangers, even though DM. This includes sharing your location publicly. Familiarizing yourself with Instagram’s Privacy settings can also come in handy.
Parental Control Apps
If you are a parent, monitoring your kid’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other social media accounts is necessary. Snooping on their phones is not guaranteed to work. Your best bet will be to utilize parental control or monitoring apps. Be sure to choose one that will provide accurate and efficient monitoring reports on your kid’s activities.
Frequently Asked Questions About Instagram Dangers
Why is Instagram so toxic?
Aside from the usual dangers of social media, Instagram can be toxic in terms of its effect on one’s mental health. In a survey by the UK’s Royal Society for Public Health, it was found that Instagram and other social media are associated with anxiety, depression, bullying, and FOMO (fear of missing out).
Is Instagram safe for a 12-year-old?
Instagram is meant for individuals 13-years-old and above. Whether a 12-year-old should be on Instagram would depend on several factors like mental and emotional maturity, and the kind of monitoring they’ll have.
Is Instagram bad for your brain?
Instagram, like other social media platforms, can cause information overload due to too much surface-level information from constant scrolling and unending notifications.
Can Instagram spy on you?
Can Instagram be hacked?
While there may be security features in place, Instagram users’ accounts can get hacked. Often, the mistake is on the user’s end by sharing their login information with friends and family, not having a strong password, and connecting to a non-secure Wi-Fi network. In case this happens, immediately report the hacking to Instagram.