Is Instagram Safe for Kids: A Guide for Concerned Parents

Very popular among teens, Instagram is a favorite photo sharing app for young people. But Is Instagram Safe for Kids? Find out in this guide for parents.

On average, 70 million photos are shared on Instagram per day.

With that level of sharing power and an active user base of more than 300 million, parents shouldn’t be surprised that their children and teens want in on the action.

Parents should expect that sooner or later their child will want to create a profile on the extremely popular photo-sharing app — if they aren’t on it already.

To help parents prepare, we have compiled a list of everything parents need to know before their child joins Instagram.

Is Instagram Safe for Kids?

Not exactly. And not without parental supervision and a good dose of discussion with your children.

As with most social media sites, Instagram includes hazards that come with a community primarily created by its users.

Users can have a negative, harmful, or dangerous experience as they may:

  • see racy photos
  • see nude photos (while not allowed, they frequently slip through and can be found via search)
  • receive too much exposure after sharing a photo
  • be easy to locate when they post photos with geo tagging (tags that show your location)
  • witness or experience bullying from other users
  • receive unwanted solicitations from strangers

Instagram can be a safe and fun app for teens if they know the best practices for keeping themselves out of harm’s way.

At What Age Can Kids Join Instagram?

According to policy, a person must be at least 13 years of age to join Instagram.

While there are many users under 13 who create accounts, Instagram is doing what it can to shut this down.

The app, owned by Facebook, has been known to shut down accounts by users they believe are not 13. One mom explained how she allowed her 11-year-old son to set up an account before realizing that it was in violation of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, which restricts websites to collect information from children under the age of 13.

Instagram notified him that his account was disabled until he could upload a picture of a government-issued ID to prove his age.

Are Profiles Public?

Yes and no.

By default, Instagram profiles are public. Many teens like their profiles to be public because they want to get a high number of followers. Users can set their profiles to private which allows only users that accept or “follow” to see their photos.

How Can I Protect My Child?

Understand the site yourself. Instagram provides an excellent resource of tips for parents.

Tell your teen set their profile to private. Teach your child how to responsibly control their visibility.

Teach your teen how to unfollow, block, and report users. Unfollowing a user means that you will no longer view posts from that user in your feed. Blocking a user means that the user can no longer search for or see your account. People aren’t notified when they are blocked. Reporting a user notifies Instagram that a user is violating their policies.

Explain when they should unfollow, block, or report a user. Review appropriate and inappropriate uses of Instagram with your teen so they know when they should unfollow or block another user and even notify an adult or report an account.

Review your teen’s postings. The only way to really know what your teen is doing on Instagram is to see it for yourself. While Instagram doesn’t offer a way for parents to review their child’s account, MamaBear does.

Related Post: The Hurtful Side of Social Media: Horrific Threats Via Instagram

With the MamaBear, the app for Peace of Mind Parenting™, parents can plug their teen’s Instagram login information into the app. Then parents will get notifications sent to their phone anytime their child uploads a new photo, gets a new follower, or uses inappropriate or flagged words.

This is an easy way to allow your child to enjoy the fun of Instagram while ensuring their safety. The free MamaBear app has versions for both parent and child and is available for both iPhone and Android devices.

 

MamaBear is Honoring Moms in May

In honor of Mother's Day, we're offering the gift of safety by giving the premium version of MamaBear App to all new families who register during the month of May.

We couldn’t think of a better way to say Happy Mother’s Day than to offer the gift of safety by giving the premium version of MamaBear App to all new families who register during the month of May.  In fact, we’re giving new May users premium access the rest of the year . . . that’s a $40 value.

 mamabear-mothers-day-offer

It’s this simple:

  1. Install MamaBear from Google Play or iTunes.
  2. Complete a new account registration anytime May 1 – 31.
  3. Under subscription in the settings area, you’ll see your premium expiration date as December 31, 2015.

Parenting in this new digital and social age can be challenging to say the least. A good parent is an informed parent, and the MamaBear app has your back.  You can actually breathe a sigh of relief when your child’s head is down in a device.

Free premium access unlocks all of the features available in an advertising free interface. Features like viewing an unlimited number of photos your child liked on Instagram, scrolling through the profiles of your child’s Instagram and twitter connections and a week long historic view of your child’s location patterns.

MamaBear is a family communication tool that not only allows you to protect your child on social media, but allows messaging among all family members in a private and secure setting along with a shared family map. MamaBear was recently featured as a “top app for parents” on the Steve Harvey Show and Telemundo’s Un Nueva Dia, and was called one of the “World’s Most Promising New Companies” by CNBC.

The MamaBear complete features set monitors Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr, offers location sharing and custom safe and restricted place notifications for your children or other family members as well as the ability to set driving speed alerts for your new teen drivers during the most dangerous driving time in their life – their first 1,000 hours behind the wheel.

Moms have the world’s toughest job, so we want to say Thank You!

Please accept our gift and stay in touch as you get comfortable using MamaBear.

Install and register your premium subscription for free on Android devices from the Google Play store and in the iTunes store for Apple devices.

Please like MamaBear App on Facebook.

 

The Hurtful Side of Social Media: Horrific Threats Via Instagram for One Teen

instagram safety for kids

The students of Lone Hill Middle School are having to face the cruel, unsettling and for most, unexpected side of social media. Their classmate, an unidentified girl, received startling and horrific death threats via Instagram. While police and school officials are doing everything possible to find the person behind these anonymous threats, parents are left wondering how they can protect their own children from the ugly aspects of social media.

How Many Tweens/Teens Use Social Media?

An article on Edudemic gives these startling stats:

  • 95% of teens ages 12-19 use the Internet
  • 81% have social media accounts, 50% of those have public profile information that can be seen by anyone on the Internet
  • 50% login to their social media accounts more than once per day, many 10 times a day or more
  • 21% of kids under 13 use social media sites
  • 23% of tween girls reported that Instagram was their favorite app

As a Parent, Here is What You Should Know

Ignorance of technology and social media is no longer an option for parents.  According to Nicole Nishada, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office, “When the conflicts expand to social media, parents are often unaware of the communication occurring silently on cell phones and computers.”

The sheriff’s office involved in this incident has been very clear that the authorities take this type of threat very seriously and there will be consequences when the person behind the threats is caught. Cyberbullying affects both the victim, who will carry emotional scars, and the bully, who if caught, can face severe legal action, or financial consequences.

With serious consequences associated on both sides of the cyberbullying epidemic, it is critical for parents to take an active role and speak with their children about this topic.  Children should know that there are options when they are the victim of cyberbullying and they should also know the negative consequences of being a cyberbully.

As parents, we sometimes go by the old adage “no news is good news,” but our children, who may be afraid to speak up or who think they can handle the situation on their own, are struggling silently.

What Can You Do To Help Your Children

A lot. Social media is a privilege, not a necessity and parents have every right to closely monitor their child’s Internet usage, including social media accounts. Children have grown up with technology, are tech savvy and may know how to keep their parents from seeing their online activity. Insist on having the passwords to your child’s accounts and monitor them daily, asking questions if you see something suspicious or unsettling. Parents can also help their children avoid this type of harassment by keeping an open line of communication.

This Is What MamaBear Was Created For

MamaBear, The Ultimate Parenting App™ closely monitors your child’s popular social media accounts all in one convenient newsfeed, including what they are posting, tweets and pictures, and also what is being said back to them through comments, messages or any other means of communication.

The app, available on iPhone and Android devices, will alert you to any signs of bullying creating the opportunity for you to open up a line of communication and extract information from your kids. The MamaBear app also offers a private communication portal so you and your family can share messages and stay on top of any situation.  Your kids do not have to be a victim to cyberbullying.  Use MamaBear and be aware and informed before your child has a problem!

 

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