A Guide To Using Parental Controls On Instagram

14 min read by Bogdi

published un an în urmă, updated 5 luni în urmă

With so many ways for our children to access the world wide web, it can be difficult to monitor and control what they are doing and who is tracking their activities. If your children are at the age where they are enthralled with social media, specifically, Instagram™ you may be wondering how to use parental controls so you can keep them safe while still allowing them to have a social life.

Learning how to manage parental controls can help avoid:

  • Cyber-bullying
  • Sexual predators and other unscrupulous characters
  • Inappropriate activity

Parental controls on Instagram can give you peace of mind by allowing you to control what your child has access to and who has access to your child.

If you are concerned about your child's safety while they are on social media, keep reading. This article may give you information that is beneficial to you and your family's safety.

Instagram – Defined

In the unlikely event that you are unfamiliar with Instagram, here is a brief description of what it is and how people use it.

Instagram is a social media platform that allows people to share their photos and videos. Since it has become such a popular social media platform, many celebrities, businesses, and large brands use it as a way to push their promotions and spread their message about their passions.

This social media platform is owned by Facebook™ and works similarly. However, it is set up as more of a photo and video platform to appeal to the younger crowd.

This article will focus on how younger children and teenagers are using this social media platform. We will also investigate how you, as a parent, can be sure they are doing so safely and positively by monitoring their activities and keeping an eye on who is keeping an eye on them.

Controlling What is Being Shared and Posted

There are many ways that you can control what content is:

  • Being shared
  • Being posted
  • Receiving comments

This next section will give you an idea of things you can control to keep your kids safe while they are enjoying their favorite social media platform.

The following things can be managed in the privacy settings menu:

Chatting with Strangers Via Direct Messages

While Direct Messages cannot be completely turned off, there are things you can do to minimize them. One way to keep your child from receiving direct messages from strangers is to make their profile private.

If your child's account is private, the only people who can send them a message are those on their list of people they are following and vice-versa. The next step is to turn off notifications for direct messages, so your child won't know when they come in.

Turning off notifications can also reduce the time your child or teenager stays on the screen. If their device constantly notifies them of online activity, it can become addictive and create other issues. We will discuss this issue more further down in the article.

Avoiding Inappropriate Content

With so much "mature" content online, it can be almost impossible to avoid coming into contact with it at one point or another. The real trick is, how do we keep our children from being exposed to mature graphics when it is everywhere?

While it may not be possible to protect them from every inappropriate or violent thing that is being posted online, there are some measures you can take to reduce the amount of exposure that they experience.

While there is no way to prevent your child or teenager from searching for mature or violent content directly through the Instagram app, there are ways to prevent this type of content from popping up while your child searches through Instagram. You simply need to change the settings on the device they are using.

To prevent your child from searching for mature or violent content or keeping it from unexpectedly popping up, you need to go to the individual device and change the privacy settings. The process may be slightly different between device brands. However, all smartphones and devices have a place in their main settings menu where you can control the level of content being viewed online.

Protecting Privacy and Preventing Identity Theft

There are so many scammers trying to steal personal information and identity that it is extremely important to protect not only yourself but especially your child. It is becoming increasingly easier for professional scammers to get information by taking advantage of a naive child or teenager.

To protect them, help them with the following:

  • Be sure your child or teenager's account is set to private
  • Educate them about keeping your address, location, or contact numbers private and never make them public
  • Ensure they turn off Geotagging when posting photos or videos

Social Networking Followers

It is important to keep an eye on who your child or teenager is following. Some content may be too mature or violent. There are many positive influencers on Instagram; however, there are also a lot of things that you may not want your children to see, so it's important to keep tabs on who they are following and who is following them.

Signing Up for Instagram - What You Should Know

According to Instagram, you must be at least 13 years of age to create an account; however, there is no age verification process. Therefore, children under the age of 13 can create an account if they are not being monitored closely enough by parents or guardians.

Instagram also allows a single individual to create up to five different accounts, so it is important to pay close attention to your child's activities whilst they are online.

Real and Fake Accounts – Polar Opposites

Not all, but many Instagram users, especially teenagers, have accounts that are called Rinstas and Finstas. You may be wondering what a Rinsta or a Finsta is and why it is important to know the difference between the two.

  • A Rinsta is an account that a person creates for the general public, parents, and other family members to view. The Rinsta account is what the individual wants the world to see, even if it is not a true view of their persona. Rinsta accounts make the person's life seem perfect.
  • A Finsta account is an account created for a person's true identity. This is where they may post things that they wouldn't want the general public or family members in their lives to see.

Having these separate accounts allows people to show the public what they want them to see rather than their true selves. So, in essence, the Rinsta is actually the fake account, and the Finsta is the real account.

Many Instagram users will create multiple types of accounts. They do not want the general public or certain family members to see what they are truly like as a person because they fear being judged or getting caught doing things they are not supposed to be doing.

Positives to Having Multiple Accounts

On the more positive side, Instagram users may create multiple accounts to showcase multiple talents, such as one page for their artwork and another for their photography or other hobbies that they want to showcase.

It is not always about being secretive. Sometimes you just want your page to focus on a particular subject, and creating more than one page can help separate your talents and hobbies into categories that are easy to view.

Controlling Your Child's Privacy on Instagram

When creating an Instagram account for your child, you need to be aware that all Instagram accounts are public when they are first created.

Privacy Settings – How to Use Them

If you want your child's account to be private, you will need to access the settings menu, where there are a plethora of options that can keep your child and family safe while enjoying the benefits of this social media platform.

If you want your child's Instagram account to be private, you must follow these steps:

  • The first thing you need to do is to Log in to the Instagram account
  • Then you will need to find and click on the Settings menu
  • Once in the settings menu, you will need to locate the tab that says Privacy. Once you click on the privacy tab, more options will appear.
  • Next, find and click on the tab that says Account Privacy
  • Once you click on the account privacy tab, you will see an option to swipe on or off to make the account private or public

Allowing and Blocking Comments on Instagram Posts

When posting on Instagram, you have the option to allow or block comments on that post. If you need to block certain people who may be causing negativity or saying inappropriate things, you can do that in the settings menu.

Before your child posts on Instagram, be sure everything is correct in their privacy settings. You have the option to change privacy and commenting permissions every time you post something.

This next section will give you details on how to do so. To control who is commenting on your child's posts, follow these simple steps:

  • Once you have navigated to the privacy menu, you will then look for and click on the tab that says Comments
  • In the comments tab, you will see an option for Blocking Comments
  • Next to the blocking comments tab, you will see a place that says, People. Once you click on the People tab, you simply type the name of the individual(s) you want to block from making comments on your child's posts.
  • You have the option of granting those individuals access again by simply removing them from the blocked list if you so choose.

In the comments section of the privacy menu, there is also an option for you to:

  • Completely block all comments
  • Block comments from friends-of-friends
  • Block certain individuals

This can all be set up before your child creates an Instagram post.

Another great feature of the comment control section is that you can block inappropriate or offensive words.  You can simply type the offensive words or phrases in the filter box, and any comments with those words will be excluded.

Controlling the Privacy of Stories Being Posted

You can also control who comments and sees what your child or teen is posting on their stories. To control who is seeing your child's stories and who is allowed to comment, you can go directly to the privacy settings menu to change settings.

The other way to control story settings is after a story is posted, you can click on the three dots on the top of the story and change your child's privacy preferences from a drop-down menu.

Sharing and Privacy on Other Platforms

Many people who are on Instagram also spend time on other social media platforms such as:

  • Facebook™
  • Snapchat™
  • Twitter™

If your child has other social media platforms they frequent, and from which they share content, their Instagram account will be public to those who are on the other platforms.

If their Instagram account is set to private, only those who follow their account can see the Instagram activity. However, when that Instagram post is shared to Facebook or any of the other platforms, the privacy may go out the window. If you do not want your child's posts to be public, do not allow them to share across multiple platforms.

Restricting Accounts

If you find that someone is posting inappropriate or negative comments on your child's Instagram posts, you can restrict their account. This blocks uninvited persons from seeing your child's activity and keeps them from sharing content or posting comments.

To restrict an account, follow these easy steps:

  • When you are in the privacy settings menu, find and click on the tab that says Restrict
  • You can type the individual's name that you wish to  restrict, and they will be added to the list
  • You can also access the restricted menu through the comment section by swiping to the left on the comment you wish to remove. This will bring you to the privacy settings menu and allow you to block the offensive individual

Blocking Third-Party Apps

There is a multitude of third-party apps that can be installed along with Instagram. Some of these apps are perfectly safe and fun. However, other apps may not be deemed appropriate for children or teenagers.

Third-party apps can be sneaky about how they collect personal information as well. If you don't want your child or teenager to have access to third-party apps, you can block them in the privacy settings menu.

Set Clear Expectations for Online Behavior

In preparation for when your child or teen is on social media platforms such as Instagram, define and adhere to a clear set of:

  • Expectations
  • Boundaries
  • Rules

Many parents who wish to keep a close eye on their child's internet activity will follow their child's page to see what they are posting and who is posting them. This works well as long as your child does not get savvy and block you from seeing their posts.

Unfortunately, you cannot view their DM's (direct messages) unless you are actually logged in as the specific account user. It is important to keep a good line of communication open with your children so they feel comfortable being themselves and coming to you when there are issues that they can't handle.

Knowing your child's login and password information, and establishing random or scheduled times to check their account, can keep your child from being exposed to inappropriate or negative things. It will also help you be sure that they are behaving properly as well.

Some parents have a rule that their child or teenager may only have access to Instagram and other social media platforms if the parent also has access and can follow them at all times.

Another way to monitor your child's activity and keep them safe while they are online is to install a third-party parental control monitoring app. There are a variety of these apps available on the Apple™ App Store or Google™ Play Store.

Keep an Eye on Who Your Children are Following

Even though you may feel like you are invading your child or teenager's privacy, it is important to keep an eye on who they are following and possibly follow the same people. This assures you know they are not being exposed to unacceptable, mature, or violent content.

In the event that you find your child or teenager is following someone who is inappropriate, you can unfollow that account by clicking on the three dots at the top of that individual's page and simply click unfollow or block depending upon the circumstances.

Controlling Contact With Strangers

If you are concerned about who may be viewing your child's Instagram posts, there are ways to prevent strangers from viewing and/or resharing posts from your child's Instagram page.

Instagram also offers you the option to approve any posts that people may try to share on your page.

For example, if your friend took a funny picture of you and tries to post it to your Instagram, you can either approve or deny the post before it goes out for all of your followers to see.

The same holds true for tagging. If your child is tagged in a photo, you can make it so you have to approve it before it is posted online. If you do not wish to be tagged in other people's photos, you can select that option in the privacy settings menu.

The Dangers of Geotagging and How to Turn it Off

By now, we all know that our phones and many apps that we use track our locations. This can be helpful in some situations, but for the most part, it is just another way that unscrupulous characters can try to scam or physically harm you.

If you are unfamiliar with Geotagging, it is simply a method that apps are using to track where you have been. Every photo you take will have a location attached to it, and it can be added to your Instamap on your Instagram account.

If someone with bad intentions wants to know where you have been, they can follow this map and learn a lot about your habits, or in this case, your child's habits. More than once, people have been scammed or kidnapped because their location has been tracked through their social media accounts.

To turn the Geotagging option off, you can follow these easy steps:

  • First, go to the main settings menu on your phone
  • Next, you will need to scroll to the apps section (menus may look different depending upon what type of device you are using)
  • Once you have found the apps section, scroll and click on Instagram
  • Then there will be options for turning your location on and off
  • If you choose to turn the location off for that app, your map will not automatically post where you have been. You can still post your photos on your feed, but people cannot go to the map and track where you have been, etc.

Preventing Addiction by Controlling Screen Time

Social media can be a great way to stay connected with friends and share fun experiences. However, when it comes to the point that your child or teenager cannot put the device down or has to check it every few minutes for fear of missing out on something, it is time to step in and get limits set in place. Better still, set some screen-time limits on the front-end of the social media process.

Many young children and teenagers are becoming so addicted to their Instagram accounts that they don't want to do anything else. Some become obsessed to the point they develop negative body image issues from comparing themselves to others.

Some become victims of cyber-bullying, while others may be the ones doing the bullying. It may not be a pleasant topic to think about, but it is serious and needs to be addressed to maintain a positive environment that everyone can enjoy.

This is where a third-party parental control app can be helpful. It can help you monitor how much screen time your kids are getting and set timers to give them a break and encourage them to socialize in the real world.

Another way to reduce your child or teenager's temptation to look at their device too often is to turn off the notifications for social media apps. If they are constantly being notified of activity that is happening online, they will be more focused on that instead of engaging in real life.

Keeping Your Kids Safe By Staying Involved

Some parents may worry that they are invading their child or teenager's privacy by keeping close tabs on their internet activities.

While everyone deserves some level of privacy, it is your job as a parent to know what your kids are doing online.

Do not feel guilty about going through your child's messages and posts. By staying involved in your kid's social media life, they are less likely to get bullied or to bully others.

Keeping close tabs on their social media activity can also give you insight into how they are feeling and if there are any problems that you may need to address.

If you are there to nip an issue in the bud before it becomes serious, your children are also less likely to fall victim to people who prey on naive and overly trusting young people.

Since you cannot always prevent your child from searching for or accidentally viewing mature or violent content, it is good to explain why you don't want them viewing this type of material.

Sometimes if a child understands why a parent is making a certain rule, they are more apt to follow the guidelines you set up.

Create a Psyeudonym to Last as They Grow

Another great way that some parents are keeping their children safe online is to create a pseudonym, aka pen name, for them to use as their online identity.

You want to create a name that they can grow with as they age. This will keep strangers from knowing who they really are and reduce the chance of them being scammed or hurt.

Don't Get Scammed By Games and Quizzes

It is easy for your child to get drawn into playing a seemingly innocent game or taking a fun quiz while they are browsing their favorite social media platforms.

You may be bored and see a quiz asking fun questions such as:

  • How many siblings do you have?
  • What elementary school did you attend?
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What street did you grow up on?
  • What was the make and model of your first car?
  • What was your first childhood pet's name?

If these questions seem familiar, it is probably because they are all questions that most apps will ask you to answer for security questions in the event you forget or lose your password or login information.

Professional scammers are creating these seemingly innocent games and quizzes to collect information about you, so when they hack your account, they are more likely to be able to answer your security questions.

Children and teenagers are more apt to play these games and quizzes, thinking that they are fun and not realizing that some untrustworthy person is trying to get their personal information and steal their identity. That is why it is so important to keep a close eye on your youngin's online activities.

Making Instagram Safe for Your Children

This article has covered the many ways you can protect your children and their identity while they are enjoying their favorite social media platform.

Staying involved and keeping the lines of communication open between you and your child will ensure that they have fewer negative experiences and they can positively showcase their talents, hobbies, etc.

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