Following your teen on Instagram is a great way to keep an eye on them, without it feeling like an invasion of privacy.

Instagram is a great place to share photos, catch up on the latest trends, and connect with celebrities. So its no wonder why preteens and teens love the platform so much. Instagram, like any social medium, has its upsides and downsides, which is why it requires a bit of parental supervision.

If you’re on the fence about allowing your teen to have an Instagram, consider only allowing them to have an account on the condition that you are following them. That way you can keep an eye on their account, and they won't feel left out. 

It’s difficult to keep teens from using Instagram, and if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. Which is exactly what every parent should do ... join their teens on Instagram. 

Inappropriate Content

While Instagram does have community guidelines, what each parent considers to be inappropriate for their family varies. If you follow your teen on Instagram you can see all their posts, the accounts they follow, and the accounts that follow them.

You may not be able to control what they search for on Instagram, but at least you can ensure that they aren’t following inappropriate accounts and that inappropriate accounts aren’t following them.

Following your teen on Instagram will ensure that they don't post anything inappropriate, but navigating social media can be tricky, and they will still need to learn social media manners. 

Here are a few tips on how to give your teen a little guidance on social media etiquette and what they should and should not post.


The teen years are difficult for many reasons, and part of that is due to being overly concerned about what your peers think of you. This has always been true, but is definitely exacerbated by social media. 

Not only can you quantify how "liked" you are, but it's also much easier to be mean from behind a screen than in person. Cyberbulling can be a real problem on social media, and parents need to be looking for it.

Teens don’t always tell their parents when someone is cyberbullying them. But if they’re doing it publicly on Instagram, you’ll see it. Read the comments on your teen’s pictures to make sure they aren’t receiving any that are hurtful.

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

Tips for Parents

  • Make sure your teen’s account is set to private, so that they have control over who can see their posts. 
  • From your own account, you will be able to see some of the posts your teen likes by navigating to Likes > Following.
  • Encourage your teen to block users who are hurtful. 
  • Tell your teen not to add their location to their posts for privacy purposes. Read more about digital privacy and why it matters.
  • Learn how to turn off comments on Instagram in the video below.

Of course, parents can ask to look through their teen’s Instagram account, but following them is a great way to keep an eye on them without it feeling like an invasion of privacy. Social media are very much a part of your teen's world, and it's just as important to know what's going on in their digital lives as their daily lives.

About Kate Carr

Kate Carr is a recent grad from the University of Vermont with a degree in Psychology. She's interested in social marketing and is the Editorial Content Associate for Zift. 

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