Instagram is not suitable for young children, and some parents even hesitate to allow their teens on the social network. However, there are a few tips and tricks that will help parents make sure their child’s Instagram profile is much safer. The number one concern every parent has when it comes to Instagram is, “how safe is it?” Like any social media platform, that answer comes down a lot to maturity, a good knowledge of online safety, and good use of privacy settings.
What is Instagram?
Most people already know about Instagram, but if you’ve made a point to avoid social media, you may not be familiar with it. Instagram is a photo sharing app that allows users to capture and share photos of everyday moments with their followers.
Instagram isn’t usually considered to be one of the more dangerous apps for kids, but it is not suitable for younger users. The minimum age for setting up an account on the app is age 13, while some parents may personally want their teen to be a little older and more mature before using Instagram. If you have a younger child who is interested in the app, consider instead setting up an account for yourself which they are only allowed to use with your supervision, to view pre-approved content such as accounts featuring cute animals, educational content, or the accounts of their older siblings and cousins.
Privacy Settings on Instagram
You may be wondering: can you put parental controls on Instagram? Unfortunately, there is no specific parental or child account setting on Instagram accounts, but you can make sure that your teen can be as safe as possible while they use the app. First things first, it is important to note that all Instagram accounts are public unless otherwise specified upon set up. The first thing to do is to go to the account settings (which can be found by selecting the three dots located at the top of the screen in the profile view) and switch the account to private. This will ensure that only accounts that your teen approves can see their content.
If your teen had already been using Instagram before you changed the privacy settings, the next step is to go to their followers and remove anyone that you, or they, do not recognize. Once they are removed, they will no longer see any of your child’s posts, nor will they be notified that they were removed. It is also recommended to turn off location sharing to protect your child’s privacy.
Another great feature is the ability to keep comments safe. Once again, go to the three dots in the profile view, and switch the “Hide Offensive Comments” feature on. You can also block specific followers from commenting on your child’s profile, or you can turn off the ability of other users to comment completely.
One more way to ensure your teen’s safety on Instagram is to manage their story settings. Teens can control the privacy of their stories by setting whether they are shared with everyone or only their “Close Friends” list, whether certain people are blocked from viewing stories, and who can reply to stories (everyone, followers only, or no one). Teens (and their parents) can also block users, as well as report inappropriate content via the same settings menu. Comments can also be reported as abusive or as spam. Users can also report when someone they follow seems to be in danger or at risk of injuring themselves. Parents should have an ongoing conversation with their teenagers about what to watch out for and what content should be reported, and when they should seek out their parents’ help (for example, if they are concerned about their own safety or the safety of a friend).
So can you put parental controls on Instagram and should you? It is natural to be concerned about your teen’s safety, and one of the best ways to keep your kids safe is to make sure their social media is kept as private as possible. Another great way to keep your kids safe is to download an app that can monitor kids’ social media usage. Jiminy is designed to help parents ensure their kids’ safety online, while allowing them to maintain their privacy. Only you can answer if you should put privacy and parental settings on your child’s social media, but a great parental monitoring app is a great place to start.