Finstagram: What Parents Should Know

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Finstagram: What Parents Should Know

April 20, 2020
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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.

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

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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