Your kid comes up to you and insists they get their own Instagram account and the panic sets in. You can’t keep them off forever, but you want them to stay safe online at the same time. Relax because there is a way your kid can be on social networks like Instagram. Here is the Parent’s Guide To Instagram Safety
What Is Instagram?
Instagram is a social media app that allows users to share photos or videos with the world. It has been so popular it has launched entire careers. Instagram influencers can make millions of dollars with just one post. Many teens list social media influencers as very important to making decisions on style, music and entertainment.
What Are The Dangers?
Cyberbullying is a serious issue for teens on the internet. It can be so devastating, young people are committing suicide at increasing rates because of bullying or harassing online. Kids and adults alike can be horribly cruel online and naturally self conscious teens are particularly vulnerable to the cruelty of the internet.
– Sexual Predators
Sexual predators love to lurk on social media for their prey. Teens posting inappropriate or provocative pictures for likes or to be like their favorite Instagram models can attract the wrong kind of attention. Even kids who post regular kid stuff can fall victim to predators who use the information posted on Instagram to lure them away from their families.
Catfishing is when someone pretends to be someone else online in order to start a relationship with another person. They then can exploit that relationship for blackmail, to humiliate or other nefarious reasons. Catfishing victims have been so devastated by the harm caused to them some of them have even taken their own lives.
– School/Work/Legal Consequences
Even pictures or videos posted to a private account can get out to the rest of the world. These pictures and videos can live forever even if they are deleted off of the original account. Some kids have gotten in serious trouble over inappropriate posts to social media. Including having their scholarships or college acceptances revoked and losing their jobs. Kids have even found themselves in legal trouble over posts made online.
– Cell Phone Addiction
Cell phone addiction is very real for many teens. They’d rather cut off their left hand then put their phone down for an extended period of time. Cell phone addiction can cause issues with school, depression and other problems. The constant draw of social media apps like Instagram make it difficult for kids to put down their phones.
What Parents Can Do To Keep Kids Safe
– Don’t Let Them on Until They are 13
The minimum age a person can create an Instagram profile is age 13 according to the community guidelines.
– Not Monitor Their Online Activity
Checking your child’s internet activity on occasion is just smart parenting. Kids don’t always make the best decisions, even older teens can find themselves in trouble. Being on top of your kids social media activity will help keep them safe.
– Set Account To Private
The first thing you should do to keep your kid safe on Instagram is to set their account to private. This means only people they (or you) approve are allowed to see their pictures and videos they post. By default all accounts are public and can be seen by anyone. Anyone under 18 should have their account private to protect them from predators, harassers, scammers and anyone else who wish to do your child harm.
– Insist They Add You To Their Account
This should be non-negotiable. Once you are added to their account you can see whatever pictures or videos they post. While you will be able to see their stories and posts you will not see who they are messaging privately.
– Instill Comment and Content Controls
To prevent inappropriate comments, spamming and cyberbullying it is a good idea to have your child turn off comments all together. By disabling comments nobody will be able to comment directly to their post, however they will still be able to message your child unless they are blocked.
It is a good idea to start following all the accounts your child is following to see what they are being exposed to. You can flag inappropriate or dangerous content from your account and insist they block inappropriate accounts on their phone.
– Set Rules For Type of Content They Can Share and Who They Can Talk To
To prevent them from attracting unwanted attention or from getting into trouble have strict guidelines on what is okay and what is not okay to post. Remind them that even if a post is deleted it doesn’t mean it is gone forever.
Also, make rules about who they are able to private message and remind them of the dangers that are waiting for them online. Make sure they know you can pull their social media and phone privileges away if they break the rules.
– Get A Cell Phone Monitoring App
Cell phone monitoring apps like PhoneSpector allow users to remotely monitor almost any smartphone without the target knowing about it. This is a win win for parents because they are able to keep an eye on their kids activity while giving their teens some sense of privacy.
With PhoneSpector you can monitor not just their Instagram account, but all of their social media activity, text messages, GPS locations, phone calls and more.