Who doesn’t know about Instagram these days? Everyone loves the photo-sharing app with its amazing filter adding feature to photos and images. You can also share them across a number of social media platforms. Taking photos and sharing them with the world has become a teen currency. Whoever has the most likes or follows, gets the higher social status.
Why do teens get attracted to this app? The main point of attraction is the instant feedback that you get. The flattering comments along with a large number of followers is a big deal to the adolescents. At the same time, negative comments are also there that can be disturbing and hurtful. The app is quite popular among teens that don’t come as a surprise. But even though the Terms and Conditions clearly say that the users should be 13 years of age or older, you can still find a lot of tweens on the app. Should they be there? NOT AT ALL.
Instagram also works as a search engine for billions of images. Your child can search for anything on Instagram and, along with photos of celebrities, cats, and dogs, inappropriate content can make its way to your child’s screen as well. If you have set content filters on the home internet or your child’s device, Instagram bypasses them. You cannot set filters in the app for restriction of inappropriate, adult or violent content. Your child could search for a seemingly regular hashtag on Instagram but, you have no idea the type of content they can access. The search results can include violence, drug use, and age-inappropriate content.
You can’t keep your child from searching on Instagram but, you can tell them how. Cyber experts have issued a warning to parents against allowing their children using Instagram or even initiating accounts for them. It gives them a false sense of purpose and fame which is worse than putting them in beauty pageants. When you make an account on Instagram, your videos and pictures are set to public viewing by default. So-called beauty pageants also take place in which the user photos are judged and those who lose get a red X on their faces. Online child sex offenders and pedophiles all over the word stalk youngsters and steal hundreds of thousands of photos of young children from public social media accounts. Another threat to young kids is that of cyberbullying. Bullies can set up fake accounts of the victim and make embarrassing memes and images to bully them.
As parents, it is totally up to you how old your kids should be before they start using social media with your permission. When the kids are 13 years of age, they are close to teenage and begin to develop a broader and better understanding of what happens around them and on the internet. That doesn’t mean that they don’t need your guidance. When children are reaching teenage, they also develop a desire to control and take care of their actions.
If your child wants to join a social network, first of all, sit with them and discuss the pros and cons of using the certain app or site. Research and see whether it is age-appropriate for your children. Use the app/site and familiarize yourself with it. See how it works.
Here are some of the ground rules that are quite effective for parents:
Privacy Settings: Privacy settings are not just essential but helpful as well. You can learn about the privacy settings of an app or site before allowing your kids to use them. Since we are talking about Instagram, make sure that that you choose private settings for your child’s account. Ask them not to follow random people. Teach them how to check privacy updates.
Careful Sharing and Posts: Apart from teaching them what to share or not, tell them that once you put something on the internet, it doesn’t ever get deleted completely. So, let them know that always be careful about what they share or post on their profile.
Location Sharing: Ask your children never to share their locations or addresses. It is not necessary that they have to check in their locations. You never know who might be keeping tabs on them.
Respectful and Responsible Behavior: Teach your kids the responsible way to use social media. Tell them to avoid getting into arguments and digital drama of any kind. Make them learn how to report and respond to a mean or hateful comment. Let them know that the digital realm is massive and everyone has to play their part. They should be respectful towards others opinions even if they don’t agree.
Last but not the least, parents should have access to their kids’ accounts. They should be in the friends and followers list so that they know what their kids are up to. If you have no such rules in place yet, then having Xnspy at hand works great to keep an eye on your child and what they do online.