In the booming era of selfies, there is no surprise that the popularity of Instagram, the fast-growing online photo sharing services, increases at breakneck speed. Instagram not only allows to share photos and short videos but also teens can leave comments, links and have a conversation there. They love this app as it works as a digital diary they are able to share with their friends. But at the same time, it is worth remembering the dangers kids may encounter online and follow Instagram safety tips.
What should parents know about Instagram?
Like the others social media platforms, Instagram has potholes that may have negative effects on youth. First of all, it allows teens to share too much personal information (full name, gender, age, phone number etc.). Besides, using geo-tagging feature anybody who follows your child can reveal their location or a place where the photo was taken. Here is the list of dangers Instagram teens can face online:
- Inappropriate photos and videos;
- Hazardous links to adult sites;
- Cyberbullying from their peers and other users;
- Online predators and strangers who may reach your child online;
With a great number of shared photos and comments, Instagram is a perfect platform for online harassment and gossips. According to the annual bullying survey, 42% of teens were cyberbullied on Instagram in 2017. Cyberbullying includes sending threatening, embarrassing or hateful messages to or about the other person. It may be a text, email or post shared online. It may have a wider audience and spread quickly. Besides, cyberbullies may create fake accounts, making things worse.
The other scary danger that kids may face online is online predators. Taking into consideration the fact, that Instagram is enormously popular with teens, online predators may use Instagram for stalking or even grooming young people there. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 1 out of 7 kids receives sexual solicitations from online predators on the Internet. Like the cyberbullies, they may create fake accounts or pretending to be a teen.
As you may see, Instagram is the very risky app for kids. Even if your kids are allowed to use Instagram, as a parent you should remember about your kid`s Instagram safety.
How to protect your children on Instagram?
Kids` Instagram safety is not a rocket science. Moderating teens` Instagram usage and having a conversation on online safety, parents can protect their kids from dangers they may encounter online. Here is the list of top 5 tips which will help to protect your kids online.
- Privacy settings
By default, anybody can view your kid`s profile and posts on Instagram. Make sure your kid has a private account so only people they approve can follow them. It will help to cut down the number of random followers, spammers or potential evildoers.
- Create your own Instagram
Set up an Instagram account and monitor your kid. You can view the list of their followers and the post they share on Instagram.
- Prevent location sharing
Instagram has an ability to geotag future photos. It can be dangerous as any person can find your child`s location. For the Instagram safety purpose, an access to the kid`s location services should be disabled in the app settings.
- No personal info
Instagram settings allow to add such personal information as real name, phone number, email or link the other social media accounts. You need to be sure your kids don`t have any personal information in their accounts that may allow someone to contact them directly or find their recent whereabouts.
- Have a conversation with your kid
Make your kids think critically about the photos they share online. Educate them that photos in a bathrobe or a swimming suit are prohibited. Start by insisting that they are not allowed to post any picture of themselves without your permission.
In case you doubt that your child I mature enough for using Instagram you can simply block this app with Kidgy low-cost cyber nanny.
Like the others social networking platforms, Instagram has its pitfalls and dangers. Make sure you understand all the consequences this app may have for your child. Without doubts, you may block Instagram on your kid`s phone, but better to teach your kid to have critical thinking and understand what is good or bad online. Besides, it is important to have a trusting relationship with your kid, so they may always tell about any nasty things they encounter online.