A Parent’s Guide To Keeping Your Child Safe On Instagram

With the new Parental Supervision Tools by Instagram, parents can now decide what their child spends time viewing and how they do it in a safe and secure way.

As someone who visibly spends hours on Instagram for both work and personal use, I am amazed at how, with a touch of a button, it helps us make connections with people we didn’t know was possible, earlier. As a content creator, it has given me ample opportunities to express myself creatively.

P.S. And if I have to let you in on a secret, some of the best creative ideas have stemmed from my tween daughters who tell me what will work with today’s young audience and how best to use the latest update on the platform! (Sshh, don’t tell them I gave them the credit!)

As much as I am amazed at their creativity and wondering how much they learn to adapt to technology, as a parent, there are some things that concern me too. Are we okay to let our children spend time on the platform? With reports coming in stating that over 85% of Indian kids have reported being cyberbullied, how comfortable am I, as a parent, with my daughters using the platform?

How should you react when your tween walks up to you, and asks if they can have their own Instagram account? Should I be a “cool parent” and give in immediately or be worried about the concerns and red flags that people have raised earlier?

What are the common concerns today’s parents have with regard to children spending time on Instagram? Let’s find out!

Common Concerns When Children Use Instagram

  • What content is my child exposed to? Is it age-appropriate?
  • Will they ‘friend’ an unknown person?
  • What if they get influenced by what is posted on social media? And start comparing their lives?
  • Who reads the content and photos they post on their timeline?

The good news first. The newly launched Parental Supervision Tools by Instagram help to put these fears to rest. With the newly launched tools and options available, parents can now also have a window into their child’s world on Instagram.

Here’s A Look At The New Safety Features Launched For Instagram

1.”Where Did All The Time Go?”

Are you worried your child spends a large chunk of their time scrolling and “liking” other’s content? With the new Parental Supervision Tools, you can view how much time your teens spend on Instagram and set time limits.

2. Be The One Who Knows It First When They Are In Trouble

Today’s generation of teens is smart to identify if there is trouble brewing in their interactions online. With the new tools, be notified immediately when your teen shares that they have reported someone/some account. They seek your guidance and comfort- so be prepared to give them that.

3. Follows & Followers- Are They All Genuine?

For some, the number of followers matters a lot. It’s kind of a make-or-break deal and gives them a feeling of one-upmanship among their peers. But are numbers everything? What about the quality of people you/your child gets in touch with? The new tool thankfully lets you view and receive updates on what accounts your teens follow and the accounts that follow your teens.

That’s not all! There are a host of other things and privacy settings options that we are unfamiliar with sometimes. Just make sure you enable these features on your child’s account and also brief them on why it is imperative they stay safe, amidst the unfamiliar virtual world that has its plusses and minuses.

Here’s How Your Kids Can Stay Safe Online

1. Nope, Not Ready For The World Yet

Setting up a Private account is one of the easiest ways your kids (and you) have control over who follows them and their content, and posts and comments on their timeline. You get to check out the person’s profile before accepting the request to follow you. Instagram defaults all minors to private accounts when they sign up anyway.

2. Close Friends- Indeed

How many of us have actually used this option? Instagram Close Friends is a feature that allows you to create a subsection of followers who are given special permission to view private stories. The best part is only YOU have access to who is on the list, and no one can “request” to be added to the same.

3. Don’t Like? Don’t Appear!

The Hidden Words feature allows you to filter abusive DM requests that are likely to be “spammy or low-quality”. It also lets you automatically filter offensive words, phrases, and emojis into a hidden folder. Instagram also has built filters that automatically remove offensive words and phrases and bullying comments. To enable this, head to the “Filters” option in the Comment Controls section. Additionally, you can choose who you want to allow to comment on your posts or you can block commenters.

4. Overwhelmed By All the “@”? There’s Help!

Instagram has rolled out controls that allow people to manage who can tag or mention them on Instagram. One can choose whether they want everyone, only people they follow or no one to be able to tag or mention them in a comment, caption or Story.

5. Unkind Comments? It’s Ok To Show Them That It Is Not OK!

Has someone annoyed you in the past with their “not so kind” comments? The control is in your hands. You can restrict someone by swiping left on a comment through the Privacy tab in Settings, or directly on the profile of the account you intend to restrict. Once the Restrict feature is enabled, comments on your posts from a person you have restricted will only be visible to that person. You can choose to view the comment by tapping “See Comment”; approve the comment so everyone can see it, delete it, or ignore it. You won’t receive any notifications for comments from a restricted account.

6. Don’t Be Afraid To Be “The Voice” Against Misusing Instagram

There are many times, we see people impersonating other accounts, and other brands, and even plagiarising content that others work hard to put out. In times like these, you can choose not to be silent and voice against the misuse of the platform. Instagram allows anyone to report content on Instagram, from profiles/ accounts to posts, comments, DMs, Lives, Stories, IGTV, and Reels. 

So make sure you give this a good read, before you and your teens use this platform to
connect safely with other like-minded individuals and express yourselves in a more
creative and competent manner. There’s a world of opportunities for you to use- go
ahead and try them out, knowing that your child (and you) are safe and secure in the
digital world.

This post is written in association with Instagram.

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