Is Instagram Safe for Children to Use?
Instagram is a social network that, according to its creators, creates stories with pictures. This social network mainly uses photos and videos. However, you might wonder: “Is Instagram safe for children to use?”
Just like Twitter, everything you publish on Instagram is public. Other users can see those posts, both with or without Instagram accounts.
Also like Twitter, Instagram uses hashtags that let other users find photos by looking at the hashtags that people add to their captions.
Most people use the app to share edited photos of themselves, friends, places, objects, food, etc. It seems like a harmless way to have fun. Celebrities and famous brands all have Instagram accounts. However, making Instagram safe for children is a difficult and almost impossible task.
Also, don’t forget that Instagram is designed for adults, not for children or teenagers, so the short answer to the question – “Is Instagram safe for children?” – is also simple: no.
Reasons why Instagram isn’t safe for children
Others can see your children’s location
It’s possible to share vulnerable data on this social network that you shouldn’t. It’s even more important that minors don’t share it.
When uploading a photo on Instagram, you can set a location. That information may seem harmless, but we don’t know what other people can do with it.
For example, it’s easy to create a pattern of activities for someone by following their locations. You don’t want strangers to be able to find your children. Therefore, it’s important that, if they use Instagram, you don’t let them set their location.
Photos your children will regret posting
Another risk for kids who use Instagram is that over time, lots of them post photos that they regret.
Even if they end up deleting them from their account, someone could have taken a screenshot already. In fact, someone could have republished it, and they won’t have control over the photos anymore.
It’s almost impossible to control what is published on Instagram and what it does over time.
Keeping Instagram safe for children and cyberbullying
We all know cyberbullying exists, since it’s not something new on the internet. It’s a new form of harassment, similar to bullying but online. Kids can now bully other kids online.
First, it happened on Facebook. Then, it started happening on Instagram. It’s important to keep in mind that Instagram makes children possible victims of online harassment. Therefore, bullies can contact kids anonymously.
Sexual and violent images that Instagram can’t control
Although Instagram doesn’t allow them, lots of people don’t follow the rules. They publish photos with inappropriate sexual content. Therefore, they aren’t suitable for children.
These images appear without searching for them, since they might use generic hashtags when publishing them.
In addition, on Instagram, you can find almost everything, without a filter. For example, you can find images of drugs, weapons, violence, and much more
You can’t stop your kids from scrolling through Instagram, and there are no filters to avoid finding these images. Unfortunately, no parental control software can help either.
Possible solutions to keep Instagram safe for children
The best thing to do is respect the minimum age to have an account on Instagram, which is 14. This is just one year older than Facebook. In addition, since your children are minors, we encourage you to keep their accounts private.
With a private account, you have to approve every follower. Also, they shouldn’t add anyone they don’t know in real life. Be careful with the desire to have lots of followers because that means strangers will follow them.
Finally, it’s very important to always talk to your children and explain the risks involved with using social media in general. It’s also important to give your children restrictions and basic rules, and always supervise them.It might interest you...
- Gross, Doug. Social networks and kids: How young is too young? CNN Tech (2009).