The connected world of today requires parents to understand, appreciate and promote the numerous positive benefits of social media platforms like Instagram. They also need to be aware of the many potential hazards of these apps yet be sensitive to the need of young people to be independent. Not only are the young using apps like Instagram for communicating with friends and family but also leveraging them to express their creativity, learn, engage in advocacy as well as earn peer support.
Most parents love the idea of the app being so versatile that it allows their children to express themselves creatively in a visual medium without much effort. However, the many adverse reports of children being exploited by the social media have rightly made a lot of them quite cautious. It is extremely important for both parents and their children to know and recognize the vital role that parents can and need to play in guiding how their children use and expose themselves on the online media. As far as controlling their own and others’ photos being posted on Instagram, kids should have enough confidence and trust in their parents to be able to rely on them for guidance and help.
So what’s Instagram All About?
Instagram is essentially a smartphone based social media app that allows its users to click a photograph, edit it and then upload and share it on their network. The real charm of the app is in its ability to help users to connect via the social network. Photographs can always be taken with a camera phone and then edited with a standalone app but only apps like Instagram integrate all the functions and allow users to share it with other users seamlessly. This is the reason why Instagram today has over 500 million active users per month. Instagram users can follow other users, which mean that the photos shared by these users will appear in the feeds of users following them. When you follow users you have also the ability to like their photos or even post comments on them. There are even specialist service providers like instamacro.com that can increase the number of your followers and the likes that the uploaded photos get.
What Should Parents Know and Enforce
Officially, to become a user of Instagram, you need to be at least 13 years of age. Most parents are completely unaware of this and in fact, many parents are oblivious to the fact that their children even have Instagram accounts. Parents need to appreciate that even engaging in apparently such an innocuous activity such as sharing photos over a social media network is not free of hazards. Children less than 13 years old cannot be depended upon to be mature enough to decide for themselves about the level of involvement and the content they are following or posting.
It is important that parents lay down a few ground rules that children need to obey and also inform them of the consequences of breaking the rules; suspension of use and thereafter account deletion if so warranted. Some of the essential rules include following people that they know personally and never to share personal information such as the residential address, telephone numbers, the school they go to, etc. this also means that geolocation tags near personal landmarks as the home, school, etc. should not be used as they can be used by others to figure out their physical location.
Regarding content posting, children need to be advised to never post any such content that their family members, teachers, and other elders will not appreciate. Parents need to tell children that objectionable content can never really be deleted from the online environment as photographs can be shared in just split seconds. The parents should teach their children to apply the T.H.I.N.K. (True, Helpful, Inspiring, Necessary, and Kind) rule before posting or commenting on Instagram.
Privacy Is Important
Parents concerned about their child’s safety on Instagram should themselves become Instagram users and follow their child online. They will also come to know how the app functions and the language of social media. Apart from ensuring that your child is not inviting trouble with her online activities, parents can actively encourage their children to creatively express themselves on a social media platform.