KidsPrimary School

Instagram and your tween: Here’s what you need to know

If your adolescent has an Instagram account, here are a few safety tips and suggestions that you should both know about.

Chances are, if you have a pre-teen, otherwise known as a “tween”, he or she already has a buzzing Instagram account. While there are lots of pros of having an Insta account, there are also some cons. Here are some tips for keeping your youngster safe when using Instagram:

You must be familiar with the app

The more you use the app, the better you’ll be able to keep track of your child’s usage. Consider creating an account for yourself and playing around with it to acquire a better idea of how it works if you don’t already have one.

Take a look at your child’s privacy settings

You have two options when creating an Instagram account: public or private. A public account can be viewed and followed by any Instagram user, however, private accounts can only be viewed by followers. This means that only those who have been approved can see your photos and stories.

Many people who wish to grow their social media following choose a public account, but this option comes with a slew of security risks, particularly for children. Setting your child’s account to private (if it isn’t already) is a good idea because you never know who might interact with his or her videos and photographs, or even send them unwanted messages or remarks.

Your child’s mental health 

Likes fuel Instagram, which may convert the platform into a popularity contest. This can have a negative impact on your child’s self-esteem, cause worry, and even cause sentiments of envy. To earn these likes, kids may go to great lengths to create “amazing” content, such as participating in perilous tasks or posting images of themselves dressed inappropriately.

In addition, many children are unaware that not everything they see on Instagram is authentic. With so many filters and photo editing tools available, it’s easy to fall prey to the yearning for unreachable perfection.

Watch out for cyberbullying

Instagram can cause depression and anxiety in teens, so always keep an eye out for any changes in your teen’s behaviour. If you suspect your tween is being bullied online, you can “block” accounts from interacting with your child’s stories and posts. The blocked person won’t be notified that they’ve been blocked and they can be unblocked at any time. However, if your child doesn’t want to block someone, you can mute the account without that person knowing.

Install filters to block crude content

If you’re concerned about cyberbullying or your child being exposed to crude content, go to “Filters” in the Comment Controls section to remove offensive words and phrases from their Instagram feed, Explore page, profile, and live videos. While there are built-in filters that can help you choose words and phrases, you can also create your own customised filters.

Turn off location settings

You can tag your location whenever you post content to Instagram, but we’d suggest that you turn these off completely – especially with the amount of attempted child kidnappings in South Africa.

Install a third-party app 

Chances are your child will restore his old settings minutes after you’ve set up all the privacy settings. A third-party app will make it easier for you to monitor your child’s social media usage. Appsafe is a great South African parenting tool to view kids’ social media activity, block porn, control apps and games and even track SMS messages and calls.      

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