Instagram is still one of the most popular social networks. However, the multitude of possibilities that Insta offers also harbors some risks. Parents should make sure that the app is set up in a childproof manner when they log in for the first time. This can prevent dangers such as cybergrooming, hate messages or cyberbullying. In this topic area, we give you important information about the settings you should know when your child uses Instagram.
The own profile or the so-called bio can be set up with profile picture and personal data. This includes, for example, the place of residence, certain preferences or a link to a website. All uploaded posts are then stored in the profile, which can be viewed by other users depending on the privacy settings.
Young people over the age of 13 can give free rein to their creativity by using functions such as Stories and Reels. They can get in touch with other users via the comment function and chat.
In addition to many companies, numerous influencers also use Instagram to earn money by promoting products. They try to influence the young generation with their posts. Negative influences can often be seen through distorted representations of reality and problematic content and role models . You can find out more about influencers in our related topic area.
Anyone with a blue tick next to their profile name has been confirmed as "genuine" by the platform. In this way, it can be made apparent that it is not a fake profile. However, since the hook is no longer just "lent" since mid-2023, but can also be purchased, you should not rely 100 percent on the security.
For minors, the default setting "private account" has been in effect since August 2021. This allows you to decide for yourself who can see your own content. However, this setting can be changed at any time so that the profile is public. Parents should make absolutely sure that young people keep the "private account" and do not reveal too much about themselves. This can prevent risks such as unwanted contact and cybergrooming . Nevertheless, you should sensitize your child to unwanted contact. Generally, children and young people should immediately stop contact if the chat partners' questions become unpleasant or they feel harassed.
If young people are nevertheless confronted with inappropriate posts or messages, Instagram offers the option of blocking and/or reporting posts, accounts or messages. This way, they are no longer displayed and may even be completely deleted by Instagram. Saferinternet.at offers step-by-step instructions for this.
Regardless of the pictures and videos of other users, young people should also pay special attention to what they upload to Instagram themselves. To feel safer here, you as parents and the young people themselves can ask the following questions, for example:
- Does the picture allow conclusions to be drawn about the place of residence or similar?
- Is the post possibly too revealing?
- Do people appear on the file who have not been asked for consent beforehand?
If you can answer one or more of the questions with yes, you should refrain from publishing. In this way, many problems can be avoided.
The posts of the people you "follow" are displayed in the so-called Instagram feed. They can be liked, commented on or shared. They can be sorted by the day of publication, the posts of "favorites" or by default by an algorithm. Instagram uses the data it has already collected about a person to decide which posts are more likely to be of interest to that person. Instagram collects this data regardless of the personally set data protection or privacy settings.
In our Instagram flyer, young people can also find important safety and privacy settings and helpful tips on what to do in the event of (cyber)bullying or harassment.
Those who want to pay more attention to how much time they spend on Instagram can view their own activity, limit usage times with reminders, and turn off push notifications. These settings are very helpful for kids and teens themselves, as well as for parents, to keep an eye on usage behavior.
In episode 4 of our podcast "klicksafe asks..." we address the question "How can we increase our digital well-being?" With communications scientist Dr. Ruth Wendt, we try to find answers to the question of how we can increase our digital well-being. The focus will once again be on the question of how children and young people can learn to use digital media in a healthy way.
Comments and like counts can be completely hidden under the own and other people's posts . This option can help young people avoid constant comparisons. In addition, different filters can be activated toautomatically hide offensive comments. Comments that contain words that are most frequently reported to Instagram can also be hidden. If there are certain words that should not appear under your own posts, a manual filter can also be activated.
Since June 2022, Instagram offers the possibility to keep a better eye on your children's activities with "Parental Control". With the function, you can, for example, set time limits and set break times, check reported content and accounts or get an overview of your children's followers. Private messages are excluded from supervision.
At the beginning of 2023, "Parent Supervision" was updated and now offers more options. Parents can now also view their child's privacy and account settings. If these are changed, parents receive a notification. In addition, parents can see which accounts their child has blocked.
The function requires the consent of both parties and you also need an Instagram account as a parent. You can send your child a request to activate parental control via the "Parental control" item in the settings. It can be terminated at any time and ends automatically when your child turns 18.