Social media has become more popular than ever. With more people having access to the internet, our lives are deeply intertwined with social media apps. The fastest growing social network is Instagram, way ahead of Facebook, with over 1 billion active users as of 2018.
Instagram is not very familiar to most parents since the majority of its uses are teenagers and young adults. Instagram is a platform to share your photos and videos on the app for your followers or the world to see.
It sounds very friendly and safe, doesn’t it? But in everything good, there is a downfall; users may be exposed to unwanted solicit pictures or videos, online bullying, harassment, offensive or inappropriate material, etc.
This has a more dire effect on youngsters since exposure to these things at such an early age might harm them mentally. So, to prevent such things from happening, there are certain safety measures you can take to protect your child from being vulnerable on Instagram with the help of these few Instagram Parental Monitoring methods.
Who can use Instagram?
Instagram is free for all people, anyone aged 13 or above can make an account. If your child does not fall under the age group mentioned, you can ask them to delete the account in a friendly manner or fill out a form on their website for Instagram to review it and put down the account accordingly.
Instagram Parental Monitoring Methods
Instagram has two types of personal accounts: private and public. Anyone can see what public account posts but only the followers of a private account can see what the user uploads. Followers for a private account can be chosen by the user. A ‘Follow Request’ can be sent by any user and if it is accepted, the person can view your child’s profile.
When your child is using these apps, these are a few Instagram parental monitoring guidelines:
- Know what to share and what not to share – Social media is not a place where you should display your whole life and personal information. It is unsafe and might seem light-hearted at first, but it puts your child at risk of predators or online bullies. Teach your child to maintain a safe boundary between their personal life and online life. Instagram has a feature where you can make your account private for your ‘followers’ (people who follow you) to view only. You can choose people who follow you. Go to Profile>three lines at top right>Settings>Privacy>Account Privacy, and turn on the Private Account feature.
- Once you put something out there, there is no erasing it – When you upload something on Instagram, people viewing it can easily take a screenshot without you being notified. To be safe, make sure what you upload is not so personal that you will be uncomfortable for anyone saving it later on.
- Avoid unknown people – Due to its popularity, Instagram has many users. There are going to be a lot of people who will send a ‘Follow Request’ to your child’s private account which, if accepted, will enable them to view the content that both the users upload; pictures, videos, stories. Don’t accept follow requests of people that you or your child don’t know in real life.
- Don’t message unknown people or reply to them – Instagram also has a messaging feature known as Direct Message (DM). Anyone can DM or video call your child’s account. You can change this setting so that no unknown person can DM or video call. Go to Profile>three lines at top right corner>Settings>Notifications>Direct Messages, and you can easily turn on/off the Message Request and Video Chats from Everyone feature.
- Know when to report/block – If someone is creating an uncomfortable situation for your child online, make sure they don’t hesitate to inform you. Instagram messages can be unsent whenever, so make sure your child knows when to take a screenshot as proof. After informing you, you or your child can easily block/report the account. Simply go to the user’s profile>three dots on the top right corner>Report…/Block.
Always make sure you and your child have a friendly exchange regarding these topics. Children will not listen if their parent is harsh or acts strictly. It will only result in them hiding things. Be open, be kind, and understanding to create a healthy relationship with your child.