What is (are?) Instagram Stories?
Instagram and Snapchat are two of the most widely used apps amongst children (aged 9 upwards) and teenagers. Both are photo sharing apps, so it makes sense that they are effectively competing for time and space on your child's device. So, Instagram has simply taken a highly popular aspect of Snapchat's service and developed it's own version.
How does it work?
- Instagram stories allows you to post their pictures into a story that is 'sent' to your friends and followers.
- Anyone following you will be able to see all posts in your story.
- You can post as many photos and images as you want
- They will delete after 24 hours and won't appear in your main Instagram feed.
- There are additional tools that let you draw and write over your images (very important for kids!)
Keeping your Stories private!
The update has a very welcome privacy feature, as you can see who is looking at your stories (by swiping up) and limit publication to specific followers and friends if you wish. Remember, for children and younger teenagers, it's very important that they don't have followers and friends that they don't know in real life! You can also adjust the settings so that you only receive replies from people that you know. This is a valuable 'anti-bullying' device and should be set for all younger children.
The default settings on Stories replicate the privacy settings on your Instagram account, so if you're set to public, then your Stories will be too.
Doesn't this just encourage more over-sharing?
Arguably, yes it does. Without a doubt, this update well and truly brings Instagram into the 'child' market, especially with the addition of writing and drawing tools. As with Snapchat, the big concern is that the 'deleting after 24 hours' feature will prove popular, and WILL encourage over-sharing.
If you have a child using Instagram (most will be), then here are some tips for you.
1. Make sure that their privacy settings are on.
2. Check that they have a limited amount of followers. There is no reason for a 12 year old to have 1000 Instagram followers!
3. Explain to your child that anything posted on Instagram can be, and often is, shared across the Internet without their permission.
4. Make sure that they understand that even if they post something on Stories and it deletes after 24 hours, it's always going to be online somewhere - if it's posted, it's permanent!
5. Ensure that replies are OFF for younger children, and for older children encourage them to only accept replies from followers that they follow back.