What Instagram says it is: "Instagram is a simple way to capture and share the world’s moments. Follow your friends and family to see what they’re up to, and discover accounts from all over the world that are sharing things you love. Join the community of over 1 billion people and express yourself by sharing all the moments of your day — the highlights and everything in between, too."


  • Age: 13+
  • Category: Photo and video
  • Available on Apple and Android
  • Developer: Instagram, Inc.

Why Kids Use It

  • Most of their friends use it to communicate and share
  • Share photos and videos
  • Chat (and video chat) with friends via direct messages
  • Follow athletes, celebrities, comedy pages, see latest memes
  • Add filters and words to their photos and videos
  • Private messaging—pics and messages disappear

Instagram Lingo

Bio - information shared about the user on the profile page

DM (direct message) - send photos or text in private to one person

Feed - the main page, you can see posts from those you follow

Finsta - a second or fake Instagram account

Geotag -  shows where the photo or video was taken

Going live - starting a live video for followers to watch

Hashtag (#) - categorizes posts so that they are searchable by clicking on the hashtag, can see posts by others using the same hashtag

Like - users shows they like a post by double tapping it, number of "likes" shows below each post

Post - picture(s) or video(s) shared on Instagram

Stories - a photo or video that appears at the top of followers’ feeds and on profile page for 24 hours, can add text, stickers or filters, can be viewed multiple times

Tag - identifying another user in a photo by adding their username to the photo

If we missed any, let us know so we may add them.

  • Sexual content and nudity
  • Mature/suggestive themes
  • Profanity or crude humor
  • Alcohol, tobacco or drug use references

What Parents Need to Know

  • Photos can be viewed and saved by strangers unless set to private
  • Instagram Direct (messaging) - messages and pics disappear after viewing, can video chat with a group, and voice messaging is available
  • Kids can connect with people they don’t know
  • Anyone can comment on public posts
  • Close Friends List: Can make a close friends list and share stories with just those people. To add friends to a list, go to profile and tap on “Close Friends” in the side menu.
  • Explore page and hashtags can offer inappropriate content
  • Can search for inappropriate content
  • Location can be shared unless account is Private
  • Allows access to Tumblr (a blogging app recently removed from the Apple store due to issues with child pornography)
  • Purchases can be made directly from posts
  • It's possible for other users to see when another user is active, unless the setting is turned off
  • can set daily time reminders, mute push notifications
  • Can set up more than one account
  • Instagram offers a parent's guide

TIP: Put Instagram on your device, and login with their username and password. You can see what they post, and spot check those disappearing direct messages.

TO FIND A FINSTA (second or "fake" account): On the child's device, open Instagram and touch and hold their icon on the bottom right of the screen. If they have a second account, it will pop up there. (For an older version, go to the profile page of the Instagram app. Look at the top of the screen, where their username is. If there is a little arrow pointing down, like a drop down menu, there is a second account. Touch that to see it.)


Who Your Child Can Share Content With

  • Everyone can see a post unless account is set to private

Who Can Share Content With Your Child

  • Users can see posts from anyone whose account is public

How to Set Restrictions on Instagram

1. To access Settings, open the app on the device; tap on the profile image in the bottom right corner
2. The profile page opens
3. Tap the three lines in the top right corner
4. In the page that opens, tap Settings
5. Tap Payments
6. Tap Profile to make sure a credit card has not been added, unless approved
7. Tap Security, to add a PIN if you are going to allow purchases
8. Tap the arrow < in the top left corner to return to the main menu
9.  Scroll down to Privacy and Security, and tap Account Privacy
10. To make the account private, turn ON Private Account - this will allow only approved followers to see posts
11. In Settings, tap Activity Status
12. Turn Activity Status OFF - this will keep followers from seeing when the user is active (screen shot is showing ON)
13. On main page, tap Resharing to Stories
14. Turn Resharing to Stories OFF - this will keep others from sharing the users stories
15. In Settings, tap Story Controls
16. On this page, you may turn OFF Message Replies so that no one can reply to a story; turn OFF Allow Sharing so that others cannot share the users story; turn OFF Allows Highlights Resharing to stop others from sharing users highlights to their stories
17. In Settings, tap Comment Controls
18. Change Allow Comments From to Your Followers; Turn ON Hide Offensive Comments (shown OFF in screenshot); you may also manually filter certain words here
19. In Settings, tap Photos of You
20. Turn OFF Add Automatically - otherwise when someone tags the user in a photo it will show automatically on their profile
21. Tap Account Data in Settings
22. Here you can see if any other names or email addresses were used in the account, and other activity
23. In Settings, tap Privacy and Security Help
24. Here, you can get information about blocking, reporting, filtering comments and more

For help finding apps on devices, turning off location sharing and blocking downloads, visit the Devices "how to" page.

If you think we missed something on this guide, please let us know!