Parenting Tips: Is Instagram Safe for Kids?
Is Instagram Safe for Kids?
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Instagram is currently the sixth most popular social media platform, with an average of more than 1 billion users. On Instagram, you can follow stories, business brands, post videos and pictures, and so on. But is Instagram safe for kids?
Like any other social platform, Instagram can be dangerous to young children without parental control. So, before you think about enabling Instagram parental control on your kid's device, let's learn a few essential things about Instagram for kids first.
According to Statista, 6.9% of the one billion-plus Instagram users are aged between 13 to 17 years. The same report reveals that another 29.3% are aged between 18-24, while 33.8% are aged 25-34 years. According to these numbers, we can conclude that more than 72% of total Instagram users are teens and young adults.
But why is Instagram a darling to most youths? Well, most youths flood Instagram because it's not popular among the older generation, unlike Facebook or Twitter. This makes Instagram feel "cool" to the younger crowd. And because parents are unlikely to be posting on Instagram, teens feel safe from their watchful eyes.
Also, kids like using Instagram because it fosters relationships. According to Facebook research, 56% of all the teens interviewed said that Instagram gives them a feeling of closeness and connectivity with their friends and family.
Finally, Instagram is one of the best social media platforms for young adults and teens to discover new and trendy things. Today, most business brands are tapping into the vast Instagram community to showcase their modern products by posting images. Overall, Instagram is revolutionizing the way teens relate and behave a great deal.
Although there is nothing inherently harmful about using Instagram, the platform comes with multiple dangers. They include:
1. Social media addiction
Social media addiction has the potential to be just as addictive as alcohol, gambling, or drugs for young adults and teens. Being addicted to Instagram may look harmless at first, but it has severe repercussions in the long run. For instance, your child will start feeling anxious, depressed, and unproductive without Instagram access.
Online bullying or cyberbullying can cause significant psychological and emotional distress in children and teens. Like other victims of bullying, cyberbullying can make kids experience fear, depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem. Your child can also experience physical symptoms and academic struggles.
3. Social isolation
Comparing our lives with those of others can be mentally unhealthy for adolescents and young adults. In most cases, your child will fall into the comparison trap as they browse through Instagram feeds and make unfair judgments about how they measure up. Your child will start feeling that they are either superior or inferior to others. Either way, your child will feel worse.
4. Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
FOMO or Fear of Missing Out is a trend that came with social media. Unfortunately, FOMO is arguably the most widespread negative social media effect on teens. With FOMO, your child gets the constant urge to visit social media because they are scared of missing out on new things that others are experiencing. For example, your child will be checking their Instagram feeds regularly to see if something cools is happening in their absence.
5. Unhealthy sleep patterns
Your child spending too much time on Instagram or any other social media platform can result in poor sleep. In fact, multiple studies reveal that social media addiction is related to low sleep quality. With poor sleep quality, your child's productivity both at home and school will plummet significantly. Even worse, poor sleep quality can lead to a low immune system. I'm sure you don't want that for your child, do you?
6. Low self-esteem
Instagram is filled with unbelievably beautiful people and celebrities living in posh homes and wearing expensive clothes. However, it's important to remind your child that everybody is human. For example, nobody wakes up early in the morning, looking like a supermodel. In short, your child might cultivate an unhealthy culture just for social media fame. Therefore, it's vital to help them keep away from Instagram's beauty.
It's virtually impossible to stop your child or adolescent from using Instagram and other social networks. That's because apart from the negatives, Instagram can be beneficial to their overall development and entertainment. So, to help protect your child, here are some Instagram for kids parental control tricks:
1. Create an Instagram Account
First of all, you should create an Instagram account that you'll use to follow your child. This way, you'll see everything your child posts unless they block you. Remember, however, that this trick won't help you see their direct messages.
2. Log into your child's account
Ask for your child's Instagram login details. Although it can be embarrassing to ask your child for their Instagram login details, this is one of the most effective ways of monitoring their Instagram use. After logging into their account, you can review their activities as well as check their DM (direct messages).
3. Follow their Instagram friends
Make it a habit to befriend your child's Instagram friends. After following their friends, you can keep tabs on what information gets to your child by seeing their friend's stories, photos, or videos. However, it would be best if you hold back on any comments.
4. Conduct regular spot checks
Dong regular spot checks (scheduled or random) can give you a sneak peek of what your child is generally up to on Instagram. Together, you can go through their feeds, DM, or even the people or brands they follow.
5. Install a third-party parental control app
Installing a third-party monitoring app like FamiSafe can be all that you need to keep tabs on your child's Instagram activities. Most of these apps are free to install and will give you lots of visibility on what your kids do online or offline.
With the FamiSafe app, you can have more control over your child's Instagram use. It's a lightweight app that can be installed in either Android, iOS, or FireOS devices. All that you need to do is to create a FamiSafe account and then log in on both devices.
After that, proceed to control the amount of time your child spends on Instagram by setting a time limit. Also, parents can keep an eagle eye on suspicious photos and videos or even turn off Instagram notifications on your child's device. Overall, it's an excellent tool for teens who can self-regulate or small kids who still need guidance.
Below are some the FamiSafe Instagram for kids parental control features:
1. Control App Usage
With the FamiSafe Screen Time feature, parents can control their kid's app usage time by scheduling duration. For example, you can set a screen time limit by hours or even days to allow your child to complete their homework, house chores, or sleep soundly. On top of that, parents can track the time their kids spend on their phones and which on apps.
2. Block Apps
Still, on the FamiSafe Screen Time feature, parents can choose to block apps that they find to be addictive or contain inappropriate content for their kids. To do that, enable the block toggle next to the app that you want to disable. The app will immediately disappear on your child's device if they are using an iPhone or iPad. For Android users, the app will become inactive, and you'll get an instant notification in case your child tries to open the blocked app.
3. Detect Suspicious Pictures and Text
This is another vital feature that will help you keep tabs on your child's DM without logging into their Instagram accounts directly. With the Content Detection feature, you can detect all offensive words in social media apps like WhatsApp, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and more. Just connect to your kid's account and get real-time alerts about sent or received texts on all messaging apps.
The Suspicious Photos feature, on the other hand, will send you notifications in case of any nudes or porn photos in your child's gallery. Even better, the explicit images will be sent to your device for appropriate action.
So, is Instagram safe for kids? Although Instagram can be fun to use, it's intended age group is that of over 13 years. Even at that, all children still need parental guidance and monitoring when navigating this platform to avoid cyberbullying and inappropriate videos, images, and messages.
It's advisable to get a third-party app to have more hands-on control over your child's device. For adolescents, you can communicate social media rules and conduct regular spot-checks to monitor their accounts. All in all, Instagram is safe for kids but with parental monitoring.