If your kids are anything like mine, they love using your smartphone to take pictures and showing them to their friends. My kids don’t have their own Instagram account, but they like to use mine (luckily, so far they only use it with permission).
Now that Facebook has bought Instagram, it’s only going to become more popular among teens and even younger kids. Like Facebook, Instagram specifically states in its terms of service that it is intended for kids 13 and up, but, as with Facebook, many kids use it anyway.
In The Washington Post, Janice D’Arcy rounded up advice from around the internet about what parents should know about instagram.
I’ve distilled the advice into this list of 5 Things Parents Need to Know About Instagram:
1. Privacy: According to the Instagram faq, “all photos are public by default which means they are visible to anyone using Instagram or on the instagr.am website. If you choose to make your account private, then only people who follow you on Instagram will be able to see your photos.”
2. Geo-tagging: By default, Instagram turns off geotagging, but it’s easy to accidentally geo-tag your location while you’re uploading a photo. You should teach your kids not to geotag themselves–unless you don’t mind everyone knowing their whereabouts.
3. Discretion: Just as your kids need to know that anything they text or e-mail to friends can be easily shared, the same is true for photos on Instagram. In other words, teach them not to take pictures of themselves in revealing clothes (or without clothes!). In its Community Guidelines, Instagram advises, “if you wouldn’t show the photo you are thinking about uploading to a child, or your boss, or your parents, you probably shouldn’t share it on Instagram.”
4. Block users and inappropriate content: Although Instagram specifically asks users not to “post nudity or mature content of any kind,” people can (and do) upload all sorts of inappropriate and offensive content that you might not want your kids to see. Use settings to block specific users and if you see truly inappropriate content (use your judgment), report it.
5. Supervise: If you decide to let your kids use Instagram, remember to check their feed to see who is posting what. Also, be aware of bullies who post mean comments on other kid’s photos.
For more tips about kids’ safety on Instagram, see Yoursphere, a great site for parents about internet and social networking safety.
Are your kids on Instagram?
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