With 52% of teens using Instagram, it’s safe to say that a lot of parents are having to teach their children Instagram safety. However, what many parents may not know is that having a healthy discussion with their kids about social media safety and responsible online activities is better than any monitoring app available. As parents and educators, it’s important that we promote communication and lead by example. However, sometimes this is easier said than done.
So, we asked 3 safety experts to share their best tips for parents who want to discuss Instagram safety with their children.
- Keep communication open and set boundaries Chris Brantner, CutCableToday.com, @CutCableToday
- Empower students by making them aware of online threats
- Monitor your student’s Instagram activity Seth Gilgus, Online Optimism, @SethGilgus
As a former teacher and parent of a teenager, Instagram is a topic I’m very familiar with. In grades as low as 5th, we saw incidents of Instagram posts leading to trouble. It’s difficult to handle as a parent due to the prevalence of social media use. The way we handled it seems to have worked pretty well. First of all, when you first get your child a smartphone, make sure to set limits. Ensure that they understand that you’ll be keeping an eye on what they’re doing, and reinforce responsible social media use from the beginning.
Keep communication open, and set boundaries when they’re ready for social media. Ensure that their Instagram accounts are private, and ensure that you follow them on Instagram with your own account so you can see what’s going on. Now, you have to tread a thin line. You don’t want to be overbearing and discuss every single picture they post. But keep track and discuss what’s appropriate and what’s not.
Like anything else, it’s all about parent involvement.
Communication is the foundation to all digital safety, even on Instagram.
Gurpreet Juneja, Top Daycare Centers
Communication is the foundation to all digital safety, even on Instagram. From my experience of being an educator, and a mother of an 8-year-old and a 14-year-old, building a solid relationship with kids is the first step to establishing and implement safety protocols. In today’s digital world it is impossible to keep our kids away from technology, but by making them aware of the online threats, we as educators can empower them. By explaining the need, and purpose for installing a safe digital monitoring software, trust can be established making software like Net Nanny and PhoneSheriff easily acceptable.
As wonderful as social media is, it is also equally dangerous for young eyes who may stumble upon something that is not age appropriate. Instagram, with its heavy reliance on visual content, is particularly risky for young eyes. For young children, parents should monitor what their child is looking at on Instagram. Third party monitoring software, such as Familoop, can be used to view what your child looks at, comments on, and likes on Instagram. Making your child’s Instagram account private also makes sure that they can monitor who wants to follow him/her.
If you’re ready for your student to start using Instagram in a positive way to impress colleges and build their online footprint, then read our Instagram Parent App Guide.