Stay Safe Using Instagram

Have a safer Instagram experience by focusing on a few key privacy and safety tips.

1. Privacy Settings

There are privacy settings on Instagram that allow you to determine who follows you. With privacy settings, sending out a request is the only way to become a follower of someone. This way is a lot safer than having a public profile because only those who you approve to follow you can see your pictures. Privacy settings also keep away unwanted followers because everyone who wants to follow you has to go through your dashboard and be approved by you. Without Privacy Settings on, it isn’t only your followers who can see your picture. Anyone can search your profile and find your pictures and profile if you don’t have Privacy Settings on.

2. Profile Appearance

Some people who are either oblivious or think they are invincible to online harassment or tracking often have their profile picture set to one of their face. This can be dangerous because if your first name and (at extreme times) your last name are on your profile, creepy people can easily do a Google search and find where you live, your age, what school you go to, where you work, your parents, your spouse, your current location. They can do all of this with only your first and last name. This goes for any social networking site, but especially one with the option for pictures like Facebook and Instagram. Don’t use a picture of yourself for your profile.

3. Location Share

There is a feature on Instagram where you can share the location of where you took the picture. If you choose this setting, you can tag your picture to anything you want, but if you click on that location once the post is up, the app brings you to a map and pin location where you were when you took the picture. To ensure safety, turn off location settings.

4. Following and Followers

With the Privacy Settings on, people can follow you without having to be approved.  If you do an excess amount of “Following” it can be bad. You could look like an attention getter and you’re putting yourself on someone else’s radar by following them. More following leads to more followers. This can lead to more people seeing you and anything you put out there. The worst part is that someone watching could be a 40 year old man presenting himself as a 14 year old girl. You never know on the Internet.

Instagram allow you to block followers and do some housekeeping, and there are apps such as “Cleaner” which support mass unfollow/block.   Follow people you know in the “real world” and be careful that you don’t accumulate followers unknown to you.