Parents' Guide to

Instagram

By Liz Panarelli, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 15+

All-in-one social app for sharing, shopping, and scrolling.

Instagram Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this app.

Community Reviews

age 14+

Based on 180 parent reviews

age 12+

Instagram for strict parents

I have 2 kids, a daughter whos 14 and a son whos 16. I remember having a conversation with my oldest when he was about 11. He was saying all his friends had it and all that. I did some of my own research and told him that he needed to be 12. . There were going to be some rules though, his Mom I and would follow his account. We did not want him to waste a lot of time on it. Instagram does make time fly, we didnt want him to be a pariah but we wanted him to not waste too much time on it. He has a screen time limit of 2 hrs a day; Instagram/Gaming/Youtube/Netflix are all mixed in this. Normally we wouldn't care how he split the time, but gaming has benefits to the brain while Instagram does not. The maximum amount he could ever spend on it was 35 minutes. And we checked every week. He did go over it sometimes so we had to reinforce the rules and suspend it once in a while. He is now 16 and still follows the rules. As parents we tend to underestimate kids, if you clearly state rules and punishments, they will follow. With my daughter I was worried about creeps. I was worried about the bad people getting to communicate with her. I let her get Instagram for her 14th birthday, we had very strict rules for her. She could follow only her friends and celebs. NO STRANGERS. Strangers could follow her because teens want followers but, she could only follow her friends. We made it clear to her that if someone started flirting with her over Instagram, and she didnt know them, it was not ok. We wanted her not to be scared of us forcing her to delete it so that was not an option. What I've learned from friends children is that if you do not let your child use it, they will use it on their own terms ignoring you. That opens many bad doors, its better to let them know that we are allowing them, not that they are doing it themselves. After all, how long can parents control their kid. Instagram is a double sided sword. Used wisely it can be a good tool. Used unwisely, could lead to problems. As parents that's where we come in, don't be afraid to take their phone without warning and check it. Before giving them Instagram lay out the rules. My rules are; 1. Strangers can follow, but no conversations with them. 2. Parents follow the account to see what stuff they post. 3. Strict time limit of 35. 4.Parents can search phone if wished. 5. It can be suspended until further notice as punishment. PS: I have found that Instagram is much safer than Facebook and SnapChat.
age 17+

Instagram IS HARMFUL FOR CHILDREN

Horrible app! Just disgusting! all the teens get depressed because they see things that are not real ! Photoshopped pics of models, semi nudes, etc . Also lot of predators, so parental care is always better. and the app is always malfunctioning. took 30 min to do ONE POST!! It just crashes my phone constantly! It gets super slowed down just when I'm about to post and then it blocks my phone completely and i lose the post! Got to do it ALL AGAIN. feel super bad for the people who live of the work for Instagram because the app is terrible full of bugs !Not to mention the Photoshop that make us all think we're worthless...Mark Zucker,u can do better than this lol ,ur algorithm works better than the app functions!

Privacy Rating Warning

  • Personal information is not sold or rented to third parties.
  • Personal information is shared for third-party marketing.
  • Personalised advertising is displayed.
  • Data are collected by third-parties for their own purposes.
  • User's information is used to track and target advertisements on other third-party websites or services.
  • Data profiles are created and used for personalised advertisements.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (180 ):
Kids say (469 ):

This social network offers cool photo effects powerfully combined with the social seduction of Facebook, the popularity filter of Reddit, the hashtag and follower sharing models of Twitter, the music-based videos of TikTok, and the curse and blessing of commentary on YouTube -- and that's just within the app. Instagram makes your photos and videos look stylish, and then makes it easy to share them instantly, across multiple platforms, allowing you to broadcast how #awesome your life is right now. The competition for cool can get a little tiresome -- the comments are full of users seeking followers -- and as with any huge social app, the experience can be an enormous mixed bag with a dark underbelly.

It's admirable that you can create notifications to remind you of how much time you've spent on the app each day, and in December 2021, Instagram announced it would be introducing new parental controls in the U.S., which it planned to subsequently add globally. Those features are a different move for the social media platform. In mid-June, Instagram announced additional controls for parents would also be released. Parents can now receive updates to let them know the users their child follows -- and is followed by -- and they can get a notification if their child reports another user. Parents can also set usage limits for their child for certain days of the week or even times of day. The additional features that were announced in June include the ability for parents to ask their child to approve them being able to use the supervision tools. Previously, teens had to initiate that process within the Instagram app, which may not have been ideal for some parents because it left them to wait for their child to take action. At least initially checking and possibly changing some of your privacy settings when you register can be a good idea. When you're active in the app, for example, a green status dot is visible next to your name -- which your friends and other acquaintances could view as you being available to chat at times when you're actually not. That feature can be disabled in the app's Activity Status setting, though.

App Details

  • Devices: iPhone , iPod Touch , iPad , Android
  • Subjects: Arts : photography
  • Skills: Creativity : producing new content, Communication : conveying messages effectively, friendship building, multiple forms of expression, Tech Skills : digital creation, social media
  • Pricing structure: Free
  • Release date: April 21, 2012
  • Category: Photo & Video
  • Publisher: Instagram, Inc.
  • Version: 2.4.0
  • Minimum software requirements: IOS 3.1.2 or later; Android 2.2 and up
  • Last updated: January 23, 2019

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