Advice for Parents about Kids on Instagram

As a parent are you using Instagram yourself?  Are you aware of your child or teen using Instagram?  Here is our advice for parents about kids on Instagram, all part of knowing about internet safety for your kids.

keeping kids safe on the internet

What is Instagram

Instagram is an online photo-sharing and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures using their phone camera, apply digital filters to them, and share them on a variety of social networking services, such as media sites including Facebook or Twitter.

It has over 100 million registered users (and around 90 million monthly active users) as of January 2013. Facebook bought Instagram in 2012.

How do you use it

Instagram is available as an app on either iPhone & iPad or for Android phones.

You take a photo and upload it into your Instagram app and then choose a filter, e.g. black and white or sepia or other tones and borders.

It turns your picture into a square image and then you can share it on the different social media sites.

6 Things You Should Know as a Parent

signing up for instagram#1. Children can sign up

You just need a valid email address and a password.

There are no age limits for signing up.

Even though the Terms of Service state that you must be at least 13 years old, you are not asked to input a date of birth when signing up.

You can also use your facebook signup to register.  Make sure to read the Privacy Policy and the Terms of Service.

#2. People can follow each other on Instagram

Following someone on InstagramTo follow someone all you need is their username, you look them up on the Explore screen and you tap the Follow button.

As well as people, many brands (including Mykidstime) are on Instagram.  By following a person or an organisation, their images will appear in your home screen page.

#3. The size of the community is huge

With over 100 million registered users (!) using Instagram, that’s a lot of people who are actively following each other and commenting to each other.

#4. You can look up photos by themes

Users can also look at themes of photos on Instagram using a hashtag (a key phrase with a # in front e.g. #puppies) which will pull up photos with that key phrase against it.

commenting on Instagram#5. People can comment on each other’s photos. 

Note that you don’t need to follow someone to be able to comment.

You tap the comment button at the bottom of their photo and then type your comment and tap Send.

#6. There are guidelines on what you can post on Instagram but…. 

Their Terms of Service state that “you may not post violent, nude, partially nude, etc” photos.

The reality is it’s hard for Instagram to police the millions of photos.

You need to be aware of this and make your child aware of this as well.  They should take care only to look at photos of people they know and trust.

Tips for parents

  • You should ask your child/teen for their instagram username to make sure they have chosen a username that is not their own name.
  • Keep an eye on what they post and what others say in relation to their images.
  • As with all social media, it’s a good idea to have a discussion with your child about how they use Instagram and the importance of privacy settings
  • If you don’t have instagram on your own phone, you can use Web.stagram to look up users and see their images.
  • It would be worth keeping an eye on news about Instagram, as they had to back pedal recently after saying it was going to change its terms of service raising concerns that it could sell your photos without permission or compensation.

Related: 10 Tips for being a “Webwise” Parent and 5 Tips for Parents on Tablet and Smartphone Online Safety

Do you have any tips to add about Instagram? Share them in the comments below.

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls