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How to manage your child’s social media privacy – Instagram

Social media is like a salad. There are as many people as there are ingredients. Vibrant and colourful and with many different individuals combined in no particular order on the same platform.

 

Just as any ingredient can be a part of the salad, anyone can be a part of social media, even under false pretences. Thus every parent’s most significant concern is born. How do I keep my child’s account safe from predators and strangers?

 

Start with your privacy settings.

Instagram

Instagram is a social networking app made for sharing photos and videos from a smartphone. Similar to Facebook or Twitter, everyone who creates an Instagram account has a profile and a news feed. Videos and pictures you post, appear on your profile.

 

Whether or not our kids believe it, people took photos and videos before Instagram. You might even recall that people shared photos before the app.

 

With its trendy filters and easy sharing options, soon we all got addicted to posting every single detail of our lives to the Instagram universe. So did our children. One thing we forget is unless privacy settings are changed, the whole world can see everything we post.

 

The following are some of the many ways to protect your child’s Instagram account:

 

1. PRIVATE YOUR CHILD’S ACCOUNT

This is the most widely known privacy setting. When your child signs up for Instagram, their account is by default, not private. It is public for everyone to see. The only thing restricted is receiving direct messages from people they don’t follow.

 

Instagram gives you the option of making the account private. What that means is that only their followers can see their posts. Thankfully account activities can be controlled at this point.

 

Once the account is private, any user who wants to see their posts has to request to follow them. Or he/she will not be able to view their posts or interact with their profiles.

 

To make your account private follow these few steps:

 

Step 1: Open the Instagram app and go to the profile screen. Then tap on the hamburger menu on the top right of your screen.

 

 

Step 2: When you click the menu a sidebar will emerge from the right, look at the bottom of the sidebar click on the settings, it has a gear icon.

 

 

Step 3: Under settings Scroll to  Privacy and security, it has a padlock icon.

 

 

Step 4: Under Privacy and Security, there are two sections in bolded text Privacy and Security, respectively. Select the first option titled “Account privacy”.

 

 

Step 5: There is only one option in this tab,  a toggle button for account privacy, click on the button to enable privacy settings.

 

 

2. REMOVE AN UNWANTED FOLLOWER

With every Instagram account a person opens, they will have followers. Some wanted, others? Not so much. Unless they have previously set their profile to private, it is very likely that on your child’s follower list, there are predators, trolls and the likes.

 

Instagram has made it easy to remove such people with the “Remove Follower” option.

 

To remove  followers, follow these simple steps:

 

Step 1: Go to your profile and tap Followers.

 

 

Step 2: You will see the three-dot icon next to every follower. Tap on it for the follower you’d like to remove and click Remove.

 

 

3. HIDE ACTIVITY STATUS

The new Instagram update features an activity tracker so that followers can see when your child is online. When he/she is online, a little green dot pops up at the side of their profile picture in the direct messages (DM) tab.

 

The following steps will make it significantly harder for predators and followers you don’t approve of to keep track of your child’s activities:

 

Step 1: Open the Instagram app and go to the profile screen. Then tap on the hamburger menu on the top right of your screen.

 

 

Step 2: When you click the menu a sidebar will emerge from the right, look at the bottom of the sidebar click on the settings, it has a gear icon.

 

 

Step 3: Under settings Scroll to  Privacy and security, it has a padlock icon.

 

 

Step 4: Under privacy and security, then click on activity status.\

 

 

4. HIDE STORY

Stories are ‘mini-posts’ that last only 24 hours. Only a person’s followers can view their story. But in this new age of cyberbullying, amongst other things, you might not want everyone that follows your child to see what’s on their stories.

 

Thankfully Instagram offers privacy setting for stories. You can customise the settings of your child’s stories to limit its visibility to specific followers.

 

Here are the steps to change privacy settings:

 

Step 1: Navigate to settings and get to privacy and security from there, click on “story controls”.

 

 

Step 2: Select the followers from whom you want to hide stories under the “Hide Story” option.

 

 

5. APPROVE PHOTOS OF YOU

Photos of your kids are always likely to be posted by friends. Instagram automatically and conveniently stores all such tagged posts in the “Tagged Photos” tab of their profile page.

 

Sadly, photos posted by others don’t always portray your child in the best light. Instagram allows the user to filter the images and videos others post so you can approve the posts your child is associated with.

 

Step 1: Navigate to the privacy and security tab under “Settings”.

 

Step 2: Under this tab select Photos and videos of you

 

 

Step 3: Under this tab, there is just one toggle button ‘add automatically’, we recommend that you disable it. Doing so will make it impossible for people to tag your child in posts without his/her permission.

 

 

 

There is no sure fire way to prevent predators from contacting a child online, however taking action would remove your child from the mix of potential preys.

 

Here are surprisingly easy ways to keep your kids safe on social media.

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