Please watch the above updated video to learn about the dangers of Instagram.

What It Is
Instagram is a popular app and social network that allows users to share pictures and videos with their family, friends, and other users.

What It Does
Instagram is an online photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that allows users to take squared-shaped pictures and videos, apply digital filters, and share them on a variety of networks, including Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr. By using hashtags, similar photos can be quickly categorized and shared with others. A “like” and “comment” feature allows users to give feedback on individual pictures.

Would My Child Want it?
Instagram allows users to share photos quickly and safely with their friends and people in their network. The filters are fun to play around with, and hashtags can be both useful and humorous.

Instagram also serves as a social networking site for teenagers, many of whom are quickly navigating away from Facebook and towards Instagram as a primary networking source. Essentially, sharing pictures is fun. According to Instagram’s privacy policy, “the Service and its content are not directed at children under the age of 13.”

Where Can It Be Used?
Though it has a website, Instagram is intended to be used on smartphones.

What Should I Watch Out For?

  • Porn. People are using fake words to hashtag porn.  Your kids are smart, they know what they are.
  • It allows its users to have a “private” account, meaning that a person cannot view another user’s pictures without first asking to be in their network and being approved.
  • Though nudity and explicit content aren’t allowed, photos of scantily-clad people may be accessible through a quick search in the “explore” section.
  • If a user chooses to be “public,” their content can be viewed by a stranger, and many companies are beginning to add users in order to advertise their company accounts.
  • Sometimes, false accounts can be used as scams in order to gain more users for an account; young people need to use caution when they encounter an account they don’t know or an offer that seems too good to be true.

What Are The Positives?

  • Without the advertising of Facebook and the privacy risk of similar apps like SnapChat, Instagram is one of the safer social networking and picture-sharing apps currently on the market.
  • A user can now send an individual picture (like SnapChat) or share a video (like Vine) without some of those apps’ risks.
  • No cost.

What Are The Negatives?

  • Young people can still find some questionable content under the “explore” category. (PORN)
  • If a user chooses to have a “public” account, their pictures are viewed and accessible by anyone on Instagram, which can be both good and bad for young people.
  • Many young people use Instagram “likes” and friends as a badge for social status—the more “likes,” the better, creating social competition that can cause insecurity to those with fewer “likes” and friends/followers.

What We Think:
Until Instagram cleans up the Porn, we can’t give the thumbs up.

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About The Author

Rachel
Contributor

Rachel has been a youth worker for 10 plus years. She is recently married and is an author of an upcoming book for girls called "See-Through" Life. She lives in Southern California and travels and speaks across the country.

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