Parenting

Is Instagram Safe for Your Kids: A Parental Guide to Instagram

Instagram is growing as a popular spot for kids to share photos/videos, meet new people, and shop online. 106.5 million Instagram users are aged 13 to 17, making up 8.0% of the Instagram ad audience.

Normally, Instagram is harmless to kids. But as a parent, it can be worrying to think about the kind of content your child may be exposed to, as well as who they might be interacting with. Moreover, the ease of sharing personal information on Instagram could potentially put your child’s safety at risk.

However, with the right knowledge and tools, parents can take steps to ensure their child’s safety while using Instagram. In this article, we will provide valuable insight whether Instagram is safe for kids or not.

Let’s start.

What is Instagram? How Does it Work?

Instagram is a social media and visual platform for users who can share their photos, videos, and reels with their Instagram followers or any Instagram user (depending upon their preferences).

Likewise, users can follow each other, like and comment on the post and send direct messages. Moreover, another exciting feature is Stories, a platform where users can share a temporary photo or video for 24 hours.

There are other features like IGTV, which allows users to upload videos that are longer than one minute; that is, it can be up to 10 minutes in normal accounts and even up to 60 minutes in verified accounts.

You can use Instagram Live and show your followers what you are doing in real-time. Finally, a wide range of filters can be used in photos, videos, and hashtags to make posts more discoverable.

Instagram can be a safe social media platform for kids, but it carries some associated risks. It is dependent on how parents manage their kid’s app use.

Here is a simple step-by-step process to install and use Instagram:

  • Open Apple App Store or Play Store (depending on iOS and Android)
  • Type “Instagram” on Search Bar and press enter
  • Tap on the install button
  • Open the app and select the Sign-Up button
  • Enter your email address and create a password/ Sign in via your Facebook account
  • Set profile (Profile picture and username)

Viola, you can now use Instagram and get access to the features.

What Do Parents Need to Know about Instagram?

Instagram has become one of the most used and popular social media platforms. It is no secret that this platform has become inevitable in today’s teens and youths. Unfortunately, according to youth experts like Shannon Seely, Instagram can cause several problems.

It is entertaining and creative, and some even have found ways to monetize this application. Regardless of the pros and cons, there are many things that parents need to know about Instagram. The most important parts are as follows:

  • Privacy Setting: Instagram users can set their account to private, which helps in preventing unwanted access to your kids’ posts by strangers. This knowledge is essential for the kid’s internet safety.
  • Potential Cybercrime: Instagram is a handy app; however, it has some drawbacks, like cyberbullying or online predators. Both parents and the kids should be aware of such problems and learn to block and report such actions.
  • Exposure to Inappropriate Content: Instagram has become a platform where people can share various things, leading people to share inappropriate content. This means your kids can be exposed to such harmful content. Hence, consider using control apps or content filters.

Moreover, being a parent, you should be cautious about the risks associated with kids’ safety on Instagram. Here are some ways to reduce the risks:

  • Parents can safeguard their kids’ accounts using the app’s privacy settings.
  • Make the kid’s account private, enabling only accepted followers to see and converse with their posts.
  • Educate the kids about the security and safety of their accounts and the potential risks of sharing posts, personal information, or communicating with unknown people.
  • Prevent or report any accounts that are misbehaving.
  • Another way might be to consider using parental control apps to limit access or feature on Instagram.

What is the Age Requirement for Instagram?

Looking at the features, parents might think that Instagram is totally safe. The parents might even wonder if there is an age requirement for using this platform; the answer is yes.

Instagram has a 13-year-old minimum age requirement, so parents should make sure their children meet this criterion before enabling them to register an account. They should also teach their kids about internet security, privacy, and relevant social media behavior.

This age restriction is there for a good reason. Although it might be fun, this platform is totally safe.

Is there an Instagram Monitoring App for Parents?

You, as a parent, can and will try to keep your child safe while using Instagram. However, tracking, monitoring, and recording all the activities on the application is very challenging. Furthermore, you must still take necessary actions and preventive measures based on the activities.

Hence, you might consider taking a helping hand from an Instagram Monitoring app. There are many monitoring apps for parents. For instance, MobileSpy is one of the best monitoring apps for parents and family tech.

These apps allow you to monitor your child’s online activities, and you can easily have access to see what they are engaging in online. Focusing on Instagram, you can track and record audio calls, video calls, text messages, and Instagram posts, including videos, photos, reels, and stories.

Moreover, these apps have features like location sharing, activity status, and an alert or notifications system if the app senses any risks and dangers like interaction with strangers, cyberbullying, or exposure to inappropriate content.

Does Instagram have Parental Controls?

So, you want to restrict unmonitored access of your kids to Instagram from the app itself before considering a monitoring app. It might not have the features of a monitoring app, but you can still manage your child’s activity on the app.

Here are some features on Instagram that might act as parental control:

  • Privacy Setting: Instagram users can set the account private. Only approved people can see the posts and stories, preventing strangers from accessing them.
  • Activity Monitoring: There is a feature on Instagram on “Your Activity” to see the time spent on the platform. Moreover, this feature can also set limits if necessary.
  • Restrict Accounts: Instagram allows its users to restrict accounts which means one can follow the account but will not have access to posts or direct messages. This feature can be beneficial in maintaining your kid’s personal life secret.

Is Instagram Safe for Kids?

Now, we have come to one of the most serious issues; is Instagram safe for kids? Instagram has become a platform for entertainment, learning, and even earning.

Instagram has become one of the fastest-growing social media platforms. However, this popularity has also attracted many risks. So, the answer to “Is Instagram safe for kids?” is, unfortunately, “No.” At least not totally.

There are many potential risks if the kids have access to unmonitored and unsupervised use of Instagram. Here are some risks you might want to avoid:

1. Privacy

If your kid’s account is not private, all Instagram users can view your kid’s photos and videos and send direct messages. This can greatly threaten privacy and, ultimately, the kid’s safety.

So, set the account type as private to prevent unwanted people, accounts, and threats off the reach.

2. Inappropriate Contents

Instagram has all kinds of content. This makes your kids very susceptible to being exposed to inappropriate content.

It includes pornography, violent videos, pictures., and other similar content. These contents might hamper the young mind during the developing and growing years.

3. Addiction

Like many social media apps, Instagram has a built-in algorithm that makes it engaging. This might lead users to spend hours on the app without knowing the time. This can be a huge issue as precious hours are spent on unproductive things.

Moreover, the kids can compare themselves with others online, which will hamper their self-esteem and confidence.

4. Online Predators

Online Predators are among the most serious and dangerous threats for kids on Instagram. Predators may make fake profiles to groom their kids. These predators may get access to very confidential information if not monitored properly.

So be careful about suspicious behavior on your child’s Instagram, as a predator might be stalking your child’s posts.

5. Spams

Spam has become an inevitable part of Instagram use. These spams might be found in comments, posts, or descriptions. It might contain sneaky links to harmful or inappropriate content or websites.

6. Cyberbullying and Harassment

Last but not least, cyberbullying and harassment have also become the biggest threats. There has been an increase in hateful messages, slurs, and blackmails. Such acts have posed a danger to the online safety of the kids.

How to Keep the Parental Controls and Monitoring Apps on Your Kid’s Phone?

After learning that Instagram is unsafe for kids without proper supervision and monitoring, you might consider setting parental controls and monitoring apps on your kids’ phones.

However, you might still be confused about how to set up and use these apps. Don’t worry. We have prepared a guideline for installing and using such parental controls and monitoring apps. Moreover, we have included some tips for using such apps.

  1. Select the App: Search for the best parental control and monitoring apps. There are many apps available on both iOS and Android. Check the reviews and features and whether they match your needs. Consider asking other users for the best reviews.
  1. Install and Purchase: Once you have decided on the best app for your use and need, install it on your phone and buy the premium version. Most parental control and monitoring apps need a premium account to access all the features.
  1. Set up the App: After purchasing the premium version, set up the app by following the instructions. Remember to install the app and log in with the account on the target device. Select and customize the features as per your need.
  1. Test the App: Once you finish the setup, check if all the features work as intended. If it works properly, you are ready to use the app; if not, recheck the setting and adjust it.
  1. Use the App: Now you can use these apps to monitor, track and record your kid’s activities on their device.

Here are some tips for parents planning to use parental control:

  • Talk to your kids about the app and ensure it is for their safety. Moreover, mention what activities you will be monitoring.
  • Use a very strong password, and ensure that you keep it safe from your kids’ hands.
  • Choose the best app that matches your needs.
  • Promote open communication with your kids and listen if they have issues.

How do you Block Explicit Content on Instagram?

There might be cases where you don’t need to worry about other online risks, but only the explicit content. This app provides many features that can help you block such content and make Instagram safe for kids. Here are the ways you can do it:

  1. Enable Restricted Mode: Enabling this mode will enable users to filter sensitive and explicit content. You can turn this feature on by going to the settings, then privacy, and taping on the restricted mode.
  1. Enable Block Feature: You can restrict and block the posts of any Instagram user and account using this feature. If you encounter explicit content, use this feature and block the ID. To use this feature, go to the Instagram profile, tap on the three dots in the top right corner, and tap on the block.
  1. Report Explicit Content: You can simply report explicit content when encountering them. To do this,  tap on the three dots in the top right corner and tap Report and state the reason for reporting the content as explicit content.

Conclusion

Instagram has become a household name among kids, teens, and adults. While the use of this social media helps create opportunities for learning, entertainment, and even earning.

However, this app has various online threats like cyberbullying, addiction, and exposure to explicit and inappropriate content.

Hence, keep your children safe by setting privacy, limiting screen time, and using the content filter. Finally, you can take a further step by using parental controls and monitoring apps.

Admin

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