Instagram Is NOT Safe For Kids!

InstagramInstagram is a lovely app….for adults. ¬†Yes it’s available for teens aged 13+ but here’s the thing. Instagram is really a search engine for billions of images. Your child can search for anything on Instagram, cats, celebrities, dogs, funny photos and ....porn. Instagram is also a photo sharing and messaging app. For cyber savvy parents the biggest problem is that if you have any adult content filters on your child’s device or on your home internet, Instagram bypasses all of these. It’s an app, so it won’t be able to be filtered for adult or violent content.

The type of content your child can come across via a perfectly innocent search within Instagram’s search engine could include, drug use, violence, porn, very very violent porn, gun sales, sub-scultures that include pageant style beauty and ugly competitions, anorexic and self harm cultures, sexual role playing, pretty much anything really. Kids also share #hashtags (search terms) for Instagram, and even though some obvious search terms on Instagram like #boobs are banned by the site, other more obscure versions have been created to take their place.

Instagram and popular messaging app, Kik Messenger also have a very unhealthy relationship. Putting the search term for Kik user names “#KikMe” in Instagram not only brings up every single user with their Kik name on their Instagram profileover 15 million nowbut also the most explicit type of porn available on the internet.

How do you prevent your child from using the search feature in Instagram? You can’t.

You can, and should enable the “Posts are Private” setting under the “Edit Profile” setting. This will hide your child’s pictures from public viewing, it also means they must approve followers.

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Finally, it’s important to understand that kids do not use social media in the same way as adults do, kids explore more, and share what they find, sometimes to show off or shock. Do NOT base your experience on Instagram to determine safety for your child.

Instagram is also being used extensively for bullying. Kids are setting up fake accounts of the victim and then posting out embarrassing posts as a way to bully. I have more enquires from parents about impersonated accounts set up to bully more than any other type of cyber bullying.

Instagram Privacy Settings
Instagram Privacy Settings

Instagram is a very risky app for kids!

How To Set Privacy Settings

 

 

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  • Just found your site via my wife… some great blogs/info here. Bookmarked for sure. Certain apps we ban & many others on your list of “No” I allow. Having been in Online Marketing for 15 yrs I am more from the camp of “educate them”… let them know where it can go, in detail as needed, random checks and this topic goes further than talking about social media…its a lifestyle of consistent & proper coaching/parenting in all areas from a young age so they make smart choices repeatedly. If you block it all and play hardball ….by age 15-16. something will give and surprises will happen…. also too late to give the speeches at 16. You need to start at 5,6,7,8,9,10 all the way along. Sure they test us but Working so far here.

    • Thanks for your comment Jeff, glad your approach is working so far. Every parent must make their own decisions around this, my job is to make sure parents make informed decisions based on how children use apps and technology. Too many parents make decisions around online safety on their own experience using apps and other tech, when we know that just like everything else children use tech entirely differently to adults. Also I believe strongly that parents have a right to reasonably “ban” anything they feel is not right for their child or dangerous, as parents we do this with every other aspects of their lives, weather it’s not taking drugs or banning hitting their sibling. “Banning” anything doesn’t necessarily lead to the attractiveness of the “banned” activity or sneaky behaviour, many other things can, including the personality of the child. Best wishes for your continued success!