What is Instagram?

Instagram is a photo-sharing app with a lot of emphasis on the sharing – more like photo-enhanced socialising. It's a way of communicating mainly through images. Children like taking, enhancing, sharing and commenting on photos - but they're not just commenting; they're socialising with photos, creating ongoing mixed-media conversations that include plenty of likes and links.

What are the risks of using Instagram?

The main things parents should worry about are similar to other social media: mean behaviour and inappropriate photos that can hurt a child’s reputation or attract the wrong kind of attention. Instagram has a minimum age limit of 13.

What's the best way to help children stay safe in Instagram?

Respecting ourselves and others makes us safer. Respecting others in the way that photos are shared, tagged and commented on reduces risk to ourselves and to others. Parents may want to be sure their children aren't posting provocative photos or having inappropriate interactions with people they don't know.

Should my child's profile be private?

Having a public account on Instagram means anyone can follow you. A private account means strangers can't follow you. That doesn't, though, guarantee that your child won't be seen on Instagram (or any other photo-sharing service) because people post photos of each other. So even if your child doesn't have an account, that doesn't mean they won't appear in a photo on Instagram. This means it's much better for children to be aware of the implications of posting pictures of other people without their permission and to be clear about what to do if they're unhappy with images that have appeared of themselves.

Click here to see how to change privacy settings