Instagram can be an excellent app for your child to meet new people and express themselves. However, it’s also an app where cyberbullies, predators, and other bad people lurk. This isn’t to say that you can’t make your child an account. However, you should carefully monitor what they’re doing. Let’s explore why Instagram can be dangerous, and what you can do.
The Dangers of Instagram
Like any social media app, Instagram can be a place for toxic or criminal behavior. Let’s look at common dangers your kid may face.
Instagram is a platform where someone can create an account, leave a nasty message, and affect your child’s self-image. Often, cyberbullying can come from classmates but also from trolls. Over 42% of users have claimed to experience some form of harassment on the platform, which is eye-opening.
There are over 500,000 predators online, and many of them use Instagram. Instagram is a platform where your child may post selfies and give away too much information about themselves. Some predators will use that to either be creepy towards your child or reach out in an attempt to groom them. Many groomers may even disguise themselves as people who look like the ages of their targets.
There are also many scams on the platform, warns Norton. Your child may encounter posts that say they can get rich or famous quickly. Some scammers may even coerce your child into grabbing your credit card. Of course, some scammers don’t need a credit card and will throw a malicious link that can lead to your child’s account being hacked.
These are several dangers that your child may encounter. While Instagram is not as dangerous as other apps, you should be mindful of what your child is doing there.
Even if your child does not encounter any of the above, using Instagram too much can give them self-image issues. They may fear missing out (FOMO) because they see their peers doing all sorts of activities. They may feel like they’re not as pretty as other people.
Instagram gives a person a skewed perception of reality, which many teens need to remember.
Tips on Giving Your Child a Safer Instagram Experience
Now, let’s discuss some ways to monitor your child’s activity, teach them how the platform works, and give them a safer experience overall.
No Child Under 13, No Exceptions
Like many social media sites, Instagram has a minimum age requirement of 13. If your 10-year-old is using Instagram, you should shut down that account immediately and only allow them to do so when they are of age.
Not only is a person under 13 being on Instagram a violation of their ToS, but a child that young is much more vulnerable to bullies, predators, and other bad actors.
Have a Talk With Your Teen
Social media use, especially for new teens, is something they shouldn’t go in blindly. The landscape has changed quite a bit in the past 20 years, so talking to your kid about potential dangers is vital. You don’t want to sound like a stick in the mud, but instead, as someone your teen will want to go to if they have any issues. If you plan to buy IG Reels views, try buytoplikes.com, and make them go viral tell them as well about the dangers of the internet before they make content.
Limit Screen Time
Another issue that kids may have when they use Instagram: they can become addicted to it. It’s so easy to mindlessly scroll the platform and end up wasting hours on it. That’s why limiting the screen time your children have on the platform is essential.
Ideally, you want to have two hours or less for older children and adolescents. You can use screen time limiting apps, including the parental controls on your phone, to do this. Obviously, you can adjust as needed; you may want less screen time on weekdays and a bit more on weekends.
You can also use Instagram’s Supervision (official website), designed to help parents monitor their teens. You can control it via the Family Center.
Supervision lets a parent set a time limit, meaning teens can only use Instagram a certain amount daily. It’s also simple to set up breaks if needed. You can also monitor your teen’s usage and then take measures if you believe your teen uses Instagram too much.
In addition, Supervision lets you see who is following your child, and vice versa.
The child also has a bit of control as well. Your kid can see what you can see, making them more mindful of their decisions.
Supervision can be a great compromise, as both parties agree to it, and either party can end it. However, you may have a teen who, understandably, doesn’t want to participate in Supervision. Teens are all about privacy; few will want to give you their account, who they follow, and other personal information. If so, what are your options for monitoring your child?
Try a Third-Party Parental Control App
Third-party parental control or spy apps can help you monitor your child’s Instagram activities much deeper than the Supervision app.
You pay for a subscription, then install the app on your teen’s phone either manually or through iCloud. Once you’ve done this, you can monitor your teen’s activity via the dashboard. These apps tend to have real-time reporting, where you’re sent screenshots of your teen’s activities. They can also archive Instagram uploads and messages. This way, you know who your child is talking to.
The app hides itself in the background, meaning your child will not notice. With all that said, we recommend using third-party apps when all other options are exhausted. If you suspect your teen is up to something, these apps can help you to figure out who they are talking to.
These basic rules can help your teen have a much better experience on Instagram and similar apps. By being honest with Instagram’s dangers, and implementing some reasonable usage rules, you can provide a much safer experience for your teen.
Last Updated: November 29, 2023