Top 5 questions parents have about Instagram

1. Why do teens love Instagram?

Because they love media, sharing it and socializing with it on their phones, and Instagram makes all that doable in a simple, eye-catching way. Teens like taking, cropping, enhancing, sharing and commenting on photos and videos. But the commenting isn’t just commenting — in effect, they’re socializing in mixed-media conversations that include plenty of likes and links too.

2. Does Instagram have a minimum age?

Yes, it’s 13, which is similar to most other online services. But Instagram doesn’t ask users to specify their age, and there are many younger children who use the service, often with their parents’ permission.  Whether Instagram is “safe” depends more on how it’s used than on the age of the user, but Instagram will delete underage accounts if they’re notified and can verify that the users are under 13.

3. What are the risks in using Instagram?

Although there isn’t anything inherently dangerous about Instagram, the main things parents worry about are typical of all social media: mean behaviour among peers and inappropriate photos or videos that can hurt a child’s reputation or attract the wrong kind of attention. There is also a concern that strangers can contact teens directly. Young people can learn to manage these risks.

4. How can my child report someone who’s pretending to be them?

As with all social media, being respectful of ourselves and others makes us safer. Our posts and comments reflect on us and others in our photos and videos. Whether serious or silly, they become part of our public image. Respecting others in how media is shared, tagged and commented on reduces risk.  Sometimes people create fake accounts to humiliate or harass others. This kind of behaviour violates Instagram’s community guidelines and you can report fake accounts here:

5. Should my teen’s profile be private?

For many young people, part of the fun of Instagram is developing a big following – a good
thing for parents and teens to talk about. Having a public account on Instagram means that
anyone can follow you. A private account means that you have to approve anyone who wants to follow you, so many parents let their kids start using Instagram with a private account. But there isn’t any guarantee that your child won’t be seen on Instagram or any other photo-sharing service, because people post photos of each other. Even not having an Instagram account can’t ensure that a child won’t appear in a photo on there.  How positive or negative a young person’s experience is on Instagram or anywhere online depends as much on the person and his or her friends as on the app.