We get a lot of questions about Instagram. “Is Instagram safe for kids?” “How old should my kid be before they use Instagram?” “How do I make sure my kids are safe on Instagram?” There’s a lot to think about with Instagram, but MamaBear has advice and information to help parents sort it all out.

Like many social media platforms, Instagram offers kids both opportunities and hazards. Due to fairly lax login policies and few restrictions, it is fairly easy for children on Instagram to be exposed to age inappropriate content. Racy photos are fairly common. Nude photos aren’t allowed but are often posted anyway and with a quick search on the explore tab, kids can let their imagination run wild. While the app requires users to be at least 13 years old (compliance with COPPA) to create and account, it is not difficult to fudge to access the app.

Like all social media platforms, Instagram can easily mean too much exposure. Anyone can view photos a child posts, and anyone can comment unless settings are appropriately changed. Geotagging presents another danger. Instagram settings make it easy for a child to broadcast their location and information to millions of strangers.

With the basic settings, any user can comment on an Instagram photo, which makes the app prime for bullying. Parents know all too well that kids can be cruel, and Instagram can become a venue for this behavior. In current trends, children of all ages are being ranked in “Instagram Beauty Pageants.” This disturbing trend has teen girls of all ages attempting to gather millions of votes compared to classmates and peers.

Rest assured, Instagram isn’t all bad. Many parents have discovered ways to mitigate and monitor risks for their kids that like to stay up-to-date with popular technologies. Instagram does allow kids to share and view amazing photography and creativity around the world. That’s a pretty exciting prospect for parents and kids.

We have a few tips for parents who want to allow their kids to participate on Instagram.

1. “Stranger Danger” Rule Applies.

Parents can prevent most problems by talking to their kids know about the risks of the app and what to do should they face an uncomfortable situation. Making sure kids understand that exposure isn’t always a good thing can prevent many unfortunate situations. If your child doesn’t know someone, they shouldn’t follow or allow a stranger to follow your child.

2. Check the Privacy Settings.

Protect from outsider looking in on your child’s Instagram profile by adjusting the built in privacy settings. Setting the “Photos are Private” option in the profile menu prevents unwanted strangers from accessing the child’s photos.

3. Use a Social Media Monitoring App Like MamaBear.

Many parents need a little help when it comes to ensuring social media is safe for their kids. MamaBear can make it easy to track a child’s Instagram account. Parents can receive email alerts or push based alerts when a child follows someone, a restricted word is used or a restricted follower mentions the child. It also gives parents a nudge when the children upload photos. It’s a time-saver.

Is Instagram safe for kids?

Like all family matters, it’s up to the parent and the kid. Parents have options to help. MamaBear is here to help parents navigate the tricky world of social media with our groundbreaking social media monitoring app for Android and iPhones.