Finstagram: What Parents Should Know

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April 20, 2020

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What is Finstagram?

  • Finstagram (also called “Finsta” or "Spam") is a fake or secondary Instagram account
  • It’s meant for an intimate audience, usually a small group of friends
  • Some reasons students open a Finsta, along with their real Instagrams (“Rinstagrams”) include:
  • Sharing silly posts with friends 
  • Hiding mischievous behavior from parents, schools, and employers
  • Sharing a different side of themselves (carefree, makeup-free, etc.)

Why should parents care?

  • Finsta profiles are often set to private
  • The usernames might be easily recognizable to friends, but not to parents and teachers
  • Teens can overestimate how private these accounts truly are, since anyone can take a screenshot
  • Students may be using their Finsta to hide bad or illegal behavior, such as: 
  • ~Bullying 
  • ~Sexually explicit photos
  • ~Underage drinking or drug use

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This is great info, thanks for giving me some ideas on how to start a dialogue with my teen!

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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ app reviews at SmartSocial.com

This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. SmartSocial.com keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

Some students are living a double digital life on Instagram. They have a profile friends and family members know about. They also have a second or third account, called a Finsta or Finstagram. Those accounts, and the different kinds of posts on them, might come as a surprise to parents. 

This guide breaks down everything parents need to know about Finstagram, so they can help keep their students safe online.

Parent & educator training video

TODAY news headline: Parents you follow your teen on Instagram, but do you know about their Finsta?
These [fake Instagram] accounts usually are associated with a clever pseudonym and bio line, different than their real Instagram (what they refer to as "Rinsta"). The accounts are locked, or set to private, so that audiences are more exclusive. Some teens have multiple Finstas, a way to connect with different friend groups. TODAY

What is Finstagram?

  • Finstagram (also called “Finsta” or "Spam") is a fake or secondary Instagram account
  • It’s meant for an intimate audience, usually a small group of friends
  • Some reasons students open a Finsta, along with their real Instagrams (“Rinstagrams”) include:
  • Sharing silly posts with friends 
  • Hiding mischievous behavior from parents, schools, and employers
  • Sharing a different side of themselves (carefree, makeup-free, etc.)

This is what a Finsta looks like

Finstagram example on NY Post
Finstagram vs. Instagram example from NYPost.com

Finstagram helps relieve “the pressures of perfection,” according to BBC News

BBC News headline: Why Generation Z are choosing 'Finsta' over "insta'
Public Instagrams are much more serious, it is the first impression of you that everyone will have… With your Finsta you don't have to care about that. It's private, if it's a bad photo of you or an inside joke, you're happy with who can see it. BBC News

Instagram is trying to combat Finstas

9to5 mac headline: Instagram close friends feature provides official alternative to "finstagrams'
Teen girls in particular have been creating fake Instagram accounts – or ‘Finstagrams’ – to ensure their most sensitive content is shared only with those closest to them. By allowing users to restrict certain Stories to a select circle of friends, Instagram is hoping that fake accounts won’t be needed. 9to5Mac.com

Why should parents care?

  • Finsta profiles are often set to private
  • The usernames might be easily recognizable to friends, but not to parents and teachers
  • Teens can overestimate how private these accounts truly are, since anyone can take a screenshot
  • Students may be using their Finsta to hide bad or illegal behavior, such as: 
  • ~Bullying 
  • ~Sexually explicit photos
  • ~Underage drinking or drug use

What can parents do?

  • Be aware that the Instagram app allows 5 accounts per login
  • Ask your students if they (or their friends) have a second Instagram account
  • Talk with your students about appropriate online behavior

What else can parents do?

  • Tell students that “private” photos can still go viral
  • Remind your students that their Finstagram friends still can take screenshots of their pictures to share with others
  • Teach your students that they can be silly and fun on their “real” Instagram accounts and don’t need a Finstagram to show off their fun side
  • Get informed about the latest apps and social media trends by signing up for our free newsletter
  • Become a Smart Social VIP (Very Informed Parent) Member and take this workshop, with your student: How to Set Up Instagram for a Positive Impact

Learn more about Instagram with the VIP program

Conclusion

Not all Finstagrams are filled with inappropriate content. Still, parents should be aware of every social media account their student has. It’s the best safety tool parents have to protect their kids online.


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Finstagram: What Parents Should Know

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