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About Instagram
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What is Instagram?

Instagram is a social media platform for photo and video sharing. Instagram is a visual app, and continual updates make it a favored social media platform among younger users.

Users can customize their media through the use of digital filters, and much like Twitter, Instagram uses the “follow” system to build networks.

Users can follow any public account, but must request to follow private accounts.

In addition to uploading photos and videos to their account, Instagram also allows users post to their Stories. Stories are featured at the top of your Instagram home feed or Discover page. 

Through the Stories function, users can post traditional content or they can livestream. Any content posted to an Instagram Story will disappear after 24 hours. Users have more fun options when they upload content to their Story; they can add text, their location, apply face filters, use stickers, and take polls. 

Instagram's Story settings give users the ability to hide stories from specific accounts, choose who can reply with a message, allow or disallow sharing, save their Stories, and share Stories to Facebook. 

Posts made by accounts that you follow will appear in the Instagram home feed and posts by any public accounts can be found in the Discover page. Hashtags feature prominently in Instagram, many users tag their posts so that they are found more easily in the Discover page. Users can search by hashtag to see posts featuring that subject matter.

Instagram allows users to have some control over the comments on their posts. Users can change their commenting settings to allow comments from "everyone", "people you follow and your followers", "people you follow", or "your followers." There is also an option to block specific users from commenting on any of your posts. An automatic filter, which can be turned off, hides offensive comments and a manual filter allows users to hide comments that contain any words they choose.

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Is Instagram safe for my kids?

Instagram is not safe for children under twelve, and teens should observe agreed-upon ground rules for its safe use. There are quite a few features in Instagram that may not be suitable for minors.

Instagram does offer a private account option, where only approved followers can see their child’s posts; however, parents may still wish to monitor their child’s followers.

For those children with unsecured or public profiles, parents should be aware that complete strangers have the ability to "DM" or Direct Message your child.

While Instagram does respond to user reports of inappropriate content, many users report a lack of consistency with filtering; this means that your child can be exposed to mature or risqué images or video. Also, the addition of livestreaming poses some issues, as content is being streamed in real time, and potential damage may already done by the time the video is reported.

Commenting threads in Instagram can be a free-for-all, and are not filtered by the app, so be aware that inappropriate language can be a definite concern here. However, new features rolled out by the platform have allowed users the ability to turn off commenting for specific posts, which may help curb unwanted lewd or mean remarks. 

Additionally, comments can be threaded for easier user management and individuals can "like" replies by tapping the heart on the right side of each comment.

Lastly, parents should know that photos posted on the platform are tagged with location (unless location services is turned-off) and can be saved, so be sure to review your photo policy prior to allowing your child to use Instagram.

For more information about cyberbulling, check out our Cyberbullying Guide for Parents.

What Parents Need To Know

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