Instagram safety: The complete guide to parental controls

Instagram is the hugely popular photo and video-sharing online platform. Let’s find out how you can make it a safe as well as enjoyable experience for your children.

Is Instagram safe for kids?

For the most part Instagram is a harmless platform for kids to share their photos, videos and stories and enjoy the subsequent comments posted underneath. However, studies have shown that Instagram also provides a popular platform for online trolls to post insulting, derogatory and offensive remarks. This is known as ‘cyberbullying’ and its consequences can be really damaging.

Instagram security features

There are plenty of ways you can manipulate Instagram so it protects your child; including the option to block accounts, block commenters, hide offensive comments, create your own manual comment filter, check log-in activity, set up two-factor authentication, take off location tagging and report inappropriate behaviours.

How old do you have to be to have Instagram?

Instagram stipulates that its users have to be 13 years old before they are allowed to create an account. Children under 13 can use the site but their account must clearly state in its bio that it is being managed by a parent or guardian.

This age limit applies to most social media sites and has been dictated by US law through the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Creating an account with false information – i.e. Lying about your age – is a violation of Instagram’s terms.

However, there is very little the site can really do to stop children under 13 from creating an account.

Teenager holding a smart phone, using Instagram

How to set up parental controls on Instagram

Given Instagram’s huge popularity – and the fact it’s free and easy to download for anyone over 13 – it’s important for all parents to understand how to keep your child safe from internet bullies while they’re using it.

How to set up message privacy settings on Instagram

If you have messaged someone in the post on Instagram they can see when you are online and active in the app, or they can get an idea of when you were last active as they will see under your name in Direct Messages: “Active 15 minutes ago”.

Disable 'online' status

To turn this function off got to Settings > Activity status and turn off ‘Show activity status’ using the toggle. Job done.

How to share and post content safely on Instagram

Sometimes your child might not be helping themselves when it comes to staying safe and protected on Instagram by the way they are sharing and posting content. Let us explain…

How to block, restrict and report accounts on Instagram

Your child doesn’t have to put with any abuse or negativity on Instagram. Just regulate who sees their posts.

How to disable your child’s account on Instagram

Depending on the severity of your predicament, this is also an option, as is deleting your child’s Instagram account permanently.

However, if your child knows this could be a consequence of disclosing any inappropriate behaviour, they may not confide in you in the first place, so be very careful.

For more information on setting controls across a range of devices, apps and platforms visit Internet Matters

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