Instagram is launched A Parent’s Guide, a new resource for parents with teens who use Instagram to aid them in creating safer online spaces for children.
Every day, millions of teenagers from across the world come to Instagram to express themselves, connect with each other and share varied common experiences. One of the most powerful things about Instagram is the large global community of over 1 billion people who feel comfortable and safe to express themselves! Whether it is to strengthen their relationships with friends; discover new interests and hobbies; or even get support through difficult times, Instagram is the community that brings many together.
On the flipside, for many parents this creates an added responsibility – to ensure their teen is safe when he or she goes online and has the kindest, most fulfilling experience. Instagram understands this and in the past year, has reassessed priorities, reassigned engineers and researchers, and aligned teams around the goal of fostering the safest, kindest, most supportive global community.
While the Parents Guide is an additional resource to aid safer online spaces, below are a few tips that can help parents contribute more effectively to keeping their teens safe when they come online:
Get your Insta-game on. As parents, many of us don’t understand what Instagram is or what it does – admit it and get online! There’s no easier way for you to understand why your teen is on the platform till you get onto it, and understand its pros and cons. Once this is done – spend time understanding the platform and the variety of tools it offers so you can in turn educate your teen to make sure he/she makes good choices online – thus leading to an overall positive experience. An informed parent will create an informed teen – and that is key.
- Manage your family’s time online together. Setting a time limit for accessing social media can prove to be helpful. An added element is, replicating this with every member of the family and not just your teens. Setting a family limit for time spent online will help in making the field level and showing your teens that you too will get to spend the same amount of time that they do online will help them better understand the value and importance of your decision. On Instagram with the new Activity dashboard – your teen and you can review the amount of time each of you spend on the community – in a day or even through the past week along with an analysis of average time spent. To control the amount of time your family and you spend online you can set a daily reminder, a timer you can set to give you an alert when you’ve exceeded what you think is an appropriate amount of time on the app; and a mute push notifications setting to limit notifications.
- Unlearn and learn how to do Instagram right with your teen. Learning how to use the platform and its various features is a great way to start a conversation with your teen about Instagram. This also gives you the chance to talk about making their profile a private profile – thus ensuring that they have full control over the content they post and their experience on the platform is safe! Along the way, not only will you find a non-intrusive way to be a part of your teens Instagram presence but also up your Insta-game! Setting your account to private is simple – go to the “Settings” gear from your profile page, and toggle “Private Account” to the “on” position.
- Create a strict ‘say no to bullies’ policy at home. Whether its offline or online, bullying in any form can hinder your teens wellbeing and if consistent, even have drastic repercussions. To ensure, your teen is not targeted to any form of mental abuse online ensure that you have an open channel of communication with him/her so he/she feels that the first step to address the issue is to have a conversation with you. Then, make sure that the offensive comment filter is turned on his/her Instagram profile This filter will automatically hide comments containing attacks on a person’s appearance or character, as well as threats to a person’s well-being or health. If the issue remains persistent or you spot an account, photo, video or comments that is intended to bully or harass someone, you can report it from within the app by visiting “…” on a post and clicking on “Report.”
- Comment right. Along ensuring that your own teen has a safe experience, it’s equally important to make your teen understand the importance of ensuing others have a similar experience too. Have an open dialogue with your teen about commenting right and identifying comments that might be offensive/derogatory. Instagram’s offensive comments filter automatically hides offensive or inappropriate comments, so people never have to see them. Additionally, one can also modify/customize the filter to reflect specific keywords and emoji’s that one might find offensive. Beyond this, to make sure your teens have a positive kind experience when they come online on Instagram they can also swipe to delete comments, report inappropriate comments, and block accounts that might be hindering their experience on the community.
Lastly, for any last minute advice, help or the right conversation started to kick off a difficult talk with your teen you can always refer to Instagram’s A Parent’s Guide at parents.instagram.com or check out the Help Center for more useful resources.