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What Your Teenager Should Know About Instagram

As a parent, you want to protect your children. As they approach their adolescent years, however, your kids yearn for their independence. We know we have to let them learn some of life’s tough lessons on their own, and all we can do is be there to support them. That can be particularly difficult in today’s digital age. There are many more ways bullies and people will ill-intent can reach kids these days. 

Instagram Bio

Social media sites are popular with teens. They serve as a way to communicate with friends, show off their creativity and meet like-minded people from around the world. Unfortunately, these sites can open your kids up to danger if they don’t know how to properly navigate them. Instagram has become one of the fastest growing platforms for teens. That’s why these tips for what you teenager should know about Instagram are particularly timely. Take a look.

1. Set Your Account to Private

Your teens should know that when they post on Instagram, their images and photos can potentially be seen by every person who uses the service. 

Currently, that’s around one billion per month. Your teen may be eager to gain followers quickly and find it exciting to connect with new people. That’s great. However, it also can lead to unwanted and potentially dangerous attention. People can follow your teenager based on an interest in their look or because they believe your kid may be vulnerable for some reason. 

You can buy Instagram likes from ViralRace and other such sites. Most folks do this with the good intention of boosting their likes or follower count and using their account in positive ways. You don’t want your child’s photos to reach anyone whose intentions aren’t so good. Advise them to set their account to private, as this restricts viewing strictly to their own followers. 

2. Don’t Share Your Location

Geotagging is a popular way to share the fun things you’re doing and to find others who have a geographic location in common with you. Unfortunately, they also give your specific location to people may not wish to have it or those who are interested in doing you harm. 

Geotags can be broad, as in identifying the city or state you’re in. They can also provide very specific location information down to the very building you’ve entered. It may seem the odds are against anything bad happening to you, but the possibility does exist. 

3. Likes Don’t Equal Worth

Adolescence is a time of growth and discovery. It can also be a period of poor self-esteem issues. Teens gain their sense of self and meaning from their peers in a lot of ways. Therefore, the likes and positive comments they receive on sites like Instagram can seem like concrete reminders of their worth. They enjoy the approval of their peers, so they strive to get more followers and likes. They can be quite devastated when those likes fail to be received. Remind your team that likes don’t equal worth and that their view of themselves is what matters most of all. 

4. You’re in Charge of the Followers You Keep

An important lesson, teenagers need to learn about social media is that they are absolutely in charge of their own accounts. They get to choose which people to follow and which ones they keep around. They can decide to delete comments and to report inappropriate behaviors. 

Encourage your child to maintain the online connections that bring them joy and lift them up, but to delete any that continually cause them anxiety or stress. Having a sense of autonomy over one’s social media experience is liberating and can increase confidence. 

5. Avoid Adding Contact Information to Your Bio

Many internet savvy teens already know this rule and may find it obvious. But many may not or might think it doesn’t apply to them. A reminder can’t hurt because it’s so important that your teenager understands they should never share their personal information online. Using their full name or any part of it in their Instagram username can make it easy for anyone to find them. 

This is especially true if they share information in their posts about their school or hometown. Remind them to be careful of identifying information in photos such as signs or building markers. Even sharing other places, they can be found online such as Facebook or KIK can be problematic. 

When people can find your teen on other platforms, they can use that information against them and play upon their weaknesses. This isn’t meant to scare you, but teens should be made aware that their are manipulative people who are skilled at getting what they want. 

6. Encourage Communication

Perhaps most importantly, encourage your child to communicate with you. Let them know you’re always there to listen to their concerns, that they can come to you when they don’t know what to do. Teenagers may not have the life experience or developmental maturity to handle certain situations. Having a supportive adult to help them navigate complex issues can make things seem less scary and help them to make better decisions. 

Remind them that they should talk about problems like cyberbullying, harassment or other inappropriate with someone, even if it’s not you. It could be a teacher, guidance counselor or friend’s parent. Sharing with trusted adults can help keep them safe. 

Keep these tips in mind and maintain an open dialogue with your teen. Know that you understand what your teenager should know about Instagram, you can feel better about their overall online social networking experiences. Talking about things and understanding the basics is important.