A Parent’s Guide to Social Media: Instagram

In this series, we will walk you through four of today’s widely-used social media platforms, telling you their general uses, defining key terms for each platform, and leaving you with important points about privacy.

Parents guide to instagramYou can catch on to this one “insta-ntly; we’re talking about Instagram!

First Off…What Does It Do?

Instagram is an online platform where anyone can share his or her photos and/or videos. Through the website or the smartphone app, users can post their media publicly or to a controlled audience as well as interact with others’ posts by liking and/or commenting on them.


Key Terms:

Instagram Feed (feed/my feed) – where your posts, along with everyone else’s that you follow, appear. Being on Instagram is a combination of posting and scrolling through your feed to see everyone else’s posts.

follow – when you follow someone, it means that all of their posts will appear on your feed. When someone follows you, all of your posts will appear on his or her feed.

hashtag (#) – a way to group your Instagram post with all other posts with that same hashtag.

Instagram Story (Insta Story) – a photo, 10 second video, or Boomerang that you add to your profile for people to view for 24 hours. Once the 24 hours are up, the post (or posts, there is no limit to how many posts you add to your story) disappear, but until then, people can view your story however many times they want to. You can also view other people’s stories.

Live Video­ – a video stream that your followers can tune into as it is happening in real time. Viewers can interact with your stream by liking it and/or commenting on it.

Boomerang – a 10 second video that is made up of a series of pictures so that, when played, just goes back and forth between pictures on repeat.

DM – short for “direct message.” If someone DMs you or you DM someone, only you and that other person can see the message.


Important Privacy “Need-To-Knows” Before You Go:

When creating an Instagram profile, you can choose to make it private or public. Making your profile private only allows people who follow you to view your entire profile, while everyone else can only see your profile picture, bio, how many people you follow, and how many people follow you. Also, making your account private allows you to accept and decline requests for people to follow you. To change the privacy settings on your account, open Instagram, go to “Settings” (the gear next to “Edit Profile”), scroll down to “Private Account” and then switch it either on or off depending on your preference.

If you no longer want someone to have access to your Instagram profile for any reason, you can block him or her. That person will not be able to see anything on your profile or be able to message you and you will also no longer see his or her tweets on your timeline or be able to message him or her. In order to block someone, go to his or her profile, click the three dots in the top right-hand corner, and click “Block.”

We also have articles answering questions like “how can I monitor my child on Snapchat?” as well as tips on how to find the best parental monitoring app for Android, how to protect your child on Snapchat, and how to monitor kids’ Instagram.

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