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A current trend among young Instagram users is to maintain multiple accounts. “Finstas” is a general name for fake Instagram accounts, but “spam” accounts are a particular type of fake account.

*Note – for all practical purposes, Instagram and Snapchat are very similar apps.


Description: Instagram is a simple way to capture and share photos and videos with friends, utilizing a variety of custom photo filters to enhance and beautify life’s moments. Instagram is one of the most popular “social media doorways” for young people because most parents perceive it to be the lowest risk since “it’s just pictures.” Recent updates to release its “stories” feature with fun customizations make the app even more appealing as it goes head-to-head with Snapchat.

Category: Social Media

APP Store rating: 12+ (“infrequent/mild alcohol, tobacco, drug, mature/suggestive themes, profanity or crude humor, adult content and nudity,” etc.), although users are supposed to be at least 13 years old in order to comply with the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which applies to websites and online services that collect personal information.


P-graphy – Because it’s built on pictures and videos, there is plenty of p-graphic content. It is very easy to find, and very easily hidden by erasing search history.

Hashtags are Huge – the hashtag feature just creates a repository of specific themes for people to follow (called troll) Hashtags are where the p-graphy is.

Self-esteem Killer – This app can have significant impacts on the self-esteem of young girls, who see what perfectly posed photos gain the most attention, and fall victim to comparing themselves to others. Comments posted by others can be affirming or damaging.

Minimal Controls – The Instagram app can’t be monitored with web filters.

Guard Location – is it possible for strangers to see the location where your child snaps photos? With a public profile, YES. The default setting on Instagram’s photo maps is set to “OFF,” but it’s very easy to change. Learn how to control location settings here!

Unfiltered Internet Access! Users can gain access to unfiltered internet searches in Google, Bing, and Yahoo through the Instagram Blog, It’s obscure, and teens would have to work pretty hard to identify this hole, but it’s there and parents need to know.

Sub-apps: Instagram also allows access to Tumblr. Users just click on their user profile (the icon on the bottom furthest to the right), then the settings gear top right, then click “Blog” towards the bottom. A link to Tumblr is waiting at the top of the Blog, where you can find an endless assortment of p-graphy. GIPHY access is now available for users to post GIF stickers to their stories. This app opens the door to more inappropriate and unmonitored content.

Instagram is on the front lines of cyberbullying, and parents often miss the signs. Some bullying is overt, through malicious posts. But, sometimes, it’s below the surface and hard to detect. This is often done through fake accounts (called “Finstas), by commenting on pictures, or by excluding someone from being tagged on a group photo.

Disappearing live videos and messages – Instagram now has disappearing live video and messages in order to keep pace with its primary rival, Snapchat.