What should parents know about Instagram?

By Common Sense Media®
What should parents know about Instagram?

Kids and teens love using the photo-sharing app Instagram because it lets you apply cool effects and captions to your photos and videos and easily share them across a number of social media platforms. The ability to quickly change the look of your pics by adding anything from borders to blurring to brightness not only unleashes kids’ creativity, it kinda makes their lives look a little more awesome.

One of the biggest draws of Instagram is the instant feedback you can get. Collecting a large number of followers — and flattering comments — is a badge of honor for diehards. On the other hand, negative comments can be really hurtful. If your kid uses Instagram, make sure she knows how to comment respectfully and deal with haters.

Parents also should know that, on Instagram, photos and videos are public by default and can contain location data. So it’s important for kids to use privacy settings to limit their audience. Occasionally, negativity crops up, such as so-called “beauty pageants” where user photos are judged (and losers get a red “X” on their faces).

Also, some kids feel pressured to curate their lives to project an idealized image on Instagram. Sometimes teens create alternate accounts that they call “Finstagrams” (fake + Instagram) where they share more authentic versions of themselves (in an unattractive outfit or with a silly expression) intended for a close, small circle of trusted friends. Maintaining these separate identities indicates kids feel a need to convey their true selves but don’t want to ruin their perfect image on their “real” (or, “Rinstagram”) feeds. Despite these hitches, Instagram does a remarkable job of implementing a neat idea with an easy and fast interface, all for free.

Learn more about the pros and cons of Instagram and how to help your kid use it responsibly.


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