Instagram is one of the most popular apps with students between the ages of 8-18.
In July of 2019 Instagram released two new features to help increase positive interactions and reduce bullying.
From Instagram’s Blog:
Encouraging Positive Interactions
Online bullying is a complex issue. For years now, Instagram has used artificial intelligence to detect bullying and other types of harmful content in comments, photos and videos. As their community grows, so does their investment in technology. This is especially crucial for teens since they are less likely to report online bullying even when they are the ones who experience it the most. (source)
Protecting Your Account From Unwanted Interactions With Restrict
While identifying and removing bullying on Instagram is important, we also need to empower our community to stand up to this kind of behavior. We’ve heard from young people in our community that they’re reluctant to block, unfollow, or report their bully because it could escalate the situation, especially if they interact with their bully in real life. Some of these actions also make it difficult for a target to keep track of their bully’s behavior.
We wanted to create a feature that allows people to control their Instagram experience, without notifying someone who may be targeting them. Soon, we will begin testing a new way to protect your account from unwanted interactions called Restrict. Once you Restrict someone, comments on your posts from that person will only be visible to that person. You can choose to make a restricted person’s comments visible to others by approving their comments. Restricted people won’t be able to see when you’re active on Instagram or when you’ve read their direct messages.
Why is Instagram so popular?
Instagram is an app (and a website) built around sharing photos and videos. It launched in October 2010 on iOS first, and became available on Android in April 2012. Facebook purchased the service in April 2012 and has owned it since.
Like most social media apps, Instagram allows you to follow users that you’re interested in. This creates a feed on the homepage showing recent posts from everyone you follow. You can Like posts and comment on them.
Instagram is owned by Facebook (since April 2012)
Facebook acquired mobile photo sharing app Instagram for approximately $1 billion in cash and stock. Instagram remains an independently branded standalone app that’s separate from Facebook, but the services increased their ties to each other.
From Tech Crunch
The pressures of Instagram on those your student’s may follow/admire (source):
- Instagram Influencers are turning to life coaches to help them deal with the pressures of forging a career on social media.
- Very few people understand the demands placed on Instagrammers, and how their job affects mental wellbeing and self-esteem.
- Unsurprisingly, the misunderstood pressures of the industry can often result in mental health problems and identity crises, and it’s for these reasons that influencers are increasingly turning to life coaches for help.
We created a parent video guide for Instagram to help you better understand this popular student app
Listen to this episode on our podcast:
What’s the age requirement?
From Chicago Now
How to start using Instagram?
- Download the Instagram app on your device.
- Create an account. Click the “Sign up” button and enter your email, username, password, phone number (optional), and upload a photo (optional) to create your account. You can choose to add a bit of personal information in the “about” section.
- Follow friends. You can now optionally choose to import contacts and find friends from your contact list, Facebook account, Twitter account, or simply search for names and usernames.
From Wiki How
Instagram Direct – share your images only with few friends
Instagram Lets You Send Private Messages Via Instagram Direct. In December 2013, Instagram announced a major new feature that enables users to send private messages to another user, or up to 15 other users.
Similar to Snapchat, Instagram Stories allows users to post images or video that will disappear after 24 hours. Stories can be seen by your followers and if your account is public, anyone can watch your Stories. In January 2018, Instagram announced the ability to add GIFs to Stories. Users can search Gihpy (a GIF database) to add GIF stickers to their videos or images in Stories.
- Feed. It shows you the most recent pictures, which were posted by users you’re following.
- Explore. You can search for images using hashtags or you can find other users, by typing their usernames.
- News. You can see if someone liked your photo or requested/started following you, and if someone tag you on his/her photo.
- Profile. It shows your posts, the number of followers and people you follow, you can check pictures, you ware tagged on, and you also can see the map of your photos.
You can set your account to be public or private.
When your profile is public, then all users could see your posts. If you set it as private, then users will need to request your approval before following you and seeing your posts.
To change your privacy settings open your account, choose the profile tab, and tap on Edit Your Profile button. At the bottom of the page, you can choose if your posts are private or not.
What do kids think of Instagram?
- Instagram is like a game where they are trying to gain more likes and followers.
- It’s the third most popular app that teens are using (after Facebook & Youtube).
- Kids take pictures of everything and everywhere.
How are kids using Instagram?
- Kids work hard to get more followers and collect as many likes on their photos as possible.
- They post dozens of pictures every day.
- Most photos are selfies.
- Their self worth is based on how many likes and comments they get.
Why should parents care?
- Kids are addicted to the app.
- Kids work hard to get many likes, comments, and followers so they feel popular.
- Kids usually don’t think a lot before posting pictures.
- Their pictures are (usually) visible to all Instagram users.
- Their self esteem is tied to their latest Instagram post.
- Giphy is not moderated which means students will have more access to inappropriate content.
- Understanding the apps your students are using is the best way to ensure they stay safe on social media
What can parents do?
- Follow your kids on Instagram and see what are they posting.
- Consider talking with your kids in real life about their posts, and not commenting on them online, so they feel they have some space.
- Use their posts to know what’s going on in their life (and talk to them about it in real life).
- Use a service like Ifttt.com to get an email every time your kid posts on Instagram.
- Always report inappropriate content or hacked and hate accounts. Instagram has a Report Something guide.
- Remind your kids to keep each post “Light, Bright and Polite.”
Do you have more questions about this app? Let us know in the comment section below.