Parent reviews for Instagram

Common Sense says

Great app makes sharing pretty, private photos all too easy.
Based on our expert review

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 141 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 374 reviews
Parent of a 9, 11, and 17-year-old Written bysmartcookie February 24, 2013

Fun, but best for mature, self disciplined kids

I have a 17, 11 & 9 year old, and the changes in social media over the past 5 years have been staggering. While safety is an obvious concern, the more practical concern for me is what all the screen time is doing to young brain and social skill development. When my oldest was a preschooler, it was generally accepted by parents that too much TV was bad for young minds. With the excitement over new technology, (myself included) it is easy to let them spend hours exploring fun new apps on a variety of screens.
My teen ager has had this app for almost a year, and we have discussed the importance of choosing carefully what she posts - no sexually provacative shots, nothing you wouldn't want your grandmother to see. Kids often forget that anyone who has access to their account can "screen shot" any picture they post. This means that once you post a picture, you lose control of where it might end up. Kids are often not very choosy about who they follow and who they allow to follow them, in an attempt to look more "popular" they will often let friends of friends follow them, or follow popular celebrities or older teens. The pictures celebrities and older teens post can be provocative, and the comments crude. There is also the down side of seeing what your peers are doing, 24 / 7. It is easy to get the idea that "everyone" is having fun, and I'm not. In reality, this isn't the case, but teens can become obsessed with what everyone else is doing, and stop being engaged with their own life. Yes, teens have always been preoccupied with the social life of others, but now they never get away from the constant "high light" reel of everyone else's life. It makes it harder to focus on being themselves.
My 9 & 11 year old do not have the app, because I have seen the down side of social media for kids who use it at too young an age. First, my 9 year old daughter has friends who follow much older girls and imitate the behavior of teenagers. Nothing is creepier to me than a 9 year old girl trying to be sexually provocative on social media. I would prefer my younger daughter not be aware of what teens do at parties for another 5 years or so. Childhood is short enought the way it is.
With my 11 year old son, I notice that when his friends come over now, they are more interested in folliowng social media and texting than in playing basketball, or interacting with the people who are in the room with them. I see their normally good social skills dissolving in front of my eyes. I have not even touched on the drama that can occur when kids use social media to exclude or be cruel to others. It definitely makes it much easier to be mean, when you don't have to look at the person you are mistreating. I think parents have a responsibility to monitor what their children are posting, to make sure that their kids don't get caught up in the drama of the moment and post hurtful things. It is simply part of teaching your child to be a responsible human being. Unfortunately, monitoring takes time, and if you don't have it (like I don't for my 2 youngest) you probably shouldn't let your kids have the app.
That being said, this is a really fun app for the socially & emotionally mature. Until there is more research on the effects of social media I will proceed with caution and limit the screen time my kids have, while monitoring (following) what they post. Yes, kids can create a separate account to keep parents in the dark, but if you are an engaged, aware parent, you will probably catch on to this trick.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Privacy & Safety
Parent of a 8, 11, and 13-year-old Written byCherry_Blossoms May 25, 2013

13 and Up? Really!?

Amazing app! I agree with the second review on here; 13 and up, really? My daughter downloaded this app for my phone and eventually I let her get an account too. There are many pros: Sharing photos fast and connecting with lots of other users. Here is my advice:
1. Don't let your kids post pictures of themselves.
2. Don't let your kids share personal information
3. Tell them to only talk to people you know on a regular basis
4. Have fun!
I very much disagree with many of the reviews on here.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Adult Written byArceusBlitz1 June 19, 2012

13 and up? Really?

This is an amazing app. I'm addicted. But 13 and up for this is too much. I've seen 7 year olds sharing photos and following people. Instagram is way safer than Facebook and I'd rather have Insta than FB (I don't even have one). The only thing I would be concerned about is the people you follow. If your child decides to have an Instagram, tell them to follow only people and friends they actually know and talk to on a regular basis. I don't just go and follow everyone I've seen before or heard of. There's this one girl I know and her username is "Follow me and I'll follow you". She has over a thousand followers. DO NOT do that. Great app for sharing pictures but it's good to be a little safe on it.
Adult Written byKatejohnson76 August 2, 2013

Great for making friends

My 9 and 13 year old kids have them, after I let them. It has been a great way for them to keep in touch with friends and see what they are doing. For instance, there are gatherings at a nearby park that my kids go to and make a lot of friends. I think overprotective parents are missing the true reason for this app: for kids to make friends and have fun. And their accounts are private, and I made one and look at theirs every once in a while to make sure they stay out of trouble.
Adult Written byTuxedo2 December 30, 2012

Instagram IS NOT ABOUT PICTURES

"Picture sharing with cool effects..." is NOT what tweens use instagram for. If you allow your child to download this app (that is assuming you know what apps your children load), please make sure to switch to private settings and disable geotags. Public settings are the default. Kids post in order to gain "likes" and "followers." It's a bit scary to see what these kids post. Most tweens share some pictures but many more post "sayings" or "jokes" that they see on other apps. Popular items like "WTF SAYING # 2." Kids can comment anywhere and on anything my son has been called a "gay pervert" and "retard" for no reason on other people's pages. Kids may post pictures from a party-- which leaves others to wonder why they've not been invited. Simply said, middle school is hard enough without a social media site! Lastly, many kids are competing for followers which means they are either public or accepting any stranger as a followers. And most have their geo tag set to on-- which means anyone can locate where the picture was taken on a map. Safe??????????

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Privacy & Safety
Parent of a 11-year-old Written byALIROSE July 11, 2018

worst for mental health on young people studies find, HIGHLY INAPPROPRIATE

This is the first generation of kids to be on social media, please use caution, this site is ranked worst for mental health for the young and could be detrimental with lasting psychological effects for our youth. Please, please, please parents, say no to letting your kids get this app especially if you aren't ready to talk to your child about porn, sex, sexual objectification, violence, drugs, narcissism. Parents beware and be careful: There's a lot of porn and drugs and over-sexualized people on this site just a click away. Setting the profile to private does nothing to protect them from what they will see. Please expose them to positive sites instead such as Youtube, DIY, etc. The internet has amazing abundance of opportunity for children, tweens, and teenagers to nurture them in their mental growth and nurture values. There is no need for the weight of social media in a young person's life. Instagram was rated worst for mental health causing anxiety and depression; worst for body image, bullying . Rated worse for young girls. Why expose them to this at the most critical and sensitive years of their life? Let them make the decision to get hooked on social media when they're adults, don't set them up for this when they're young and vulnerable. Let them be kids. Instagram will make your child grow up faster and childhood is quick enough.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Privacy & Safety
Parent of a 1, 3, 4, 6, 6, and 12-year-old Written byResponsibleParentOf9 October 23, 2013

UNSAFE

Instagram = violence, sexual content/innuendos, foul language, product placement, drugs, alcohol, and WORSE OF ALL: UNSAFE AND UNEDUCATIONAL. My daughter came home from school asking if she could sign up for this site. I made an account for it and was DISGUSTED about the content. Please, stay away from this site, Webkinz Jr. is a great alternate, and for all you adults, Facebook is a better alternative.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Privacy & Safety
Parent of a 8, 13, and 16-year-old Written byPinkalicous19 April 1, 2015

it is fine

The app is okay but you all should just check your kids phone or restrict instagram from them. A lot of parents are over protected. Just go to settings on your apple device and click restrictions and select what is age appropriate for your kids

This title contains:

Ease of Play
Language
Privacy & Safety
Adult Written byHellomyfellowpeople December 5, 2014

Why Instagram

It honestly depends on who you are following. I only follow kids that have appropriate accounts. There is some swearing but not too much. Other than that it is very appropriate.

This title contains:

Ease of Play
Adult Written byDiana G. April 7, 2017

Highly inappropriate & worst user help sites and false contact information

I WAS a user of instagram and NEVER WILL I ever again! My account got hacked and now it being used to promote sex and gives links for pornographic sites along with keeping my photos of my family up and spamming my friends with half naked pictures of women. I tried contacting the help hotline/email 2 dozen times and got automated responses that did NOTHING to take down the account that I could no longer access because my email and password were changed. When I called i was sure they rerouted my call to india where a man picked up and pretended to try and help. I told him my problem and he proceeded to tell me that they would take care of it and than hung up without taking any of my account info let alone my name down. Facebook or whoever is in charge of instagram needs to shut this down! Or at least hire people who will not allow porn sites and hackers to take over and poison our children and our men with the worst kind of internet exploitations! PARENTS, DON'T LET YOUR CHILDREN USE INSTAGRAM and boycott it yourselves! As a parent, it is abominable what they let happen. If they can't protect our children we need to and not promote this horrible company and their do-nothing policies.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Privacy & Safety
Adult Written byfedup November 9, 2014

BOOOOOO INSTAGRAM!

Some bullies set up a "hate" page about my daughter a week ago and even though we have reported it several times Instagram has not shut the page down. Shame on you Instagram for allowing cyber bullying.

This title contains:

Ease of Play
Language
Privacy & Safety
Adult Written byabperrone April 15, 2013

Instagram and Tweens: Caution

Some fifth graders are on Instagram and having some issues with privacy, over-sharing, hurt feelings and exposure to a few inappropriate images. The attraction to amassing "followers" and the subculture of snarky comments may give parents some concerns. As with a lot of social media and gaming, maturity often lags behind tech-savvy. I'd suggest parents closely supervise their beginning Instagrammers if they're tweens.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Privacy & Safety
Parent Written byParentjourney March 29, 2013

Parents Beware

Beware. Regardless of privacy settings, anyone can request to follow you and the profile photo can be of anything. Thankfully, I review my daughter's follow requests with her. It's not safe for kids.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Privacy & Safety
Parent Written bySavvyParent April 24, 2013

BEWARE Kids will get an eyeful! Even if *your* user posts safely, you can't control what others post!

Lots of fun, but NOT for grade school or middle school!

This is a really fun app, but even for high schoolers, it is important to be cautious.

While users can and should set their settings to private so only friends see what they post, you can't control what other people post publicly and there is a lot of nudity and pornography. Instagram policy says it is prohibited, but they do not catch everything.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Privacy & Safety
Adult Written byciera1 April 13, 2016

Instagram Review By Ciera Nguyen

In this paper I’m going to be reviewing the popular app “Instagram”, based on my own personal opinion. I’ve been using this app on a daily basis for 5 years, so I can tell you the ups and the downs about it and be completely honest. This is coming from the phone I have currently which is a Iphone 6s Plus. But when I first got Instagram I had an ipod touch.

First, I’m going to be telling you about the design. The design is super clean and really easy to use. When I was in 6th grade (13 years old) I had no difficulties using this app at all, it was kind of hard at first but then I got used to it. It wasn’t anything a 13 year old couldn’t handle. The contrast the colors of the words very well so it isn’t hard to see anything, and the overall icon of the app is really physically appealing. It’s a camera that’s a little colorful. The colorfulness of the icon also attracts a younger audience. It’s very simple and isn’t hard to find things that you need to navigate too. (your profile, inbox, feed, popular page)

Next is the quality of the app, does this wonderful blessing among us perform well? Does this app glitch? Does it exit out really fast and make you sign back in? Give you useless notifications? The answer is no. Instagram barely glitches or does anything you would find annoying. (unless you have a really really old phone, and I mean REALLY old) You can turn off your notifications if you don’t like them, even if you did get notifications they don’t make a sound on your device unless you turn on that setting. So I think this app performs extremely well. Did I mention this app is 100% free? They don’t advertise anything once you download the app that is additional, either. (things you would have to buy I mean) Some apps trick you into thinking they’re free and then advertise a bunch of things you need to buy once you download it, Instagram isn’t one of those.

Now I’m going to be talking about the accuracy of this app. Instagram has a thing where it tells you how long ago you posted a photo/video. This is very very accurate. It never fails to let you comment on someone else’s picture or to receive a comment from someone else on your picture,unless you have a problem with your connection. Although the ability to tag a location can come in handy for things when you post a photo, it might also be a little dangerous. If you have a todder that has a instagram they might accidentally give away your location. Instagram is capable of so many things from posting photos, commenting on photos, liking photos, adding cool filters, direct messaging someone, and scrolling through the popular page. The privacy you can get on Instagram is also pretty great. If you want to be in control of who follows you, you can set your profile on private. This means you can accept peoples follow requests and if you don’t want them to follow you, you can deny them. They can’t see any of your profile until you accept their request. You can also block whoever you want and then they can’t see anything on your profile at all, and they don’t have the option to even follow you anymore. You can also have your profile on public if you’re not much of a privacy maniac.
I hope you enjoyed my review on this fabulous app. To be honest this is my favorite app at the moment, and I hope it stays popular for a while. Even if it doesn’t stay popular I will still use it. The reason I have continued to use this app for so many years is because it’s just such a gosh dang great app! I love it so much and I hope you can find to love it as much as I do. From playing around and editing photos, to maintaining key friendships, it is an excellent app.

This title contains:

Privacy & Safety
Parent Written byFairReviewer April 29, 2013

Stop and think about it before saying no

Although it's not a perfectly safe site, Instagram can be a very educational site. How? Two reasons. If your kids get to follow other classmates and friends on Instagram, they learn about their own school's social structure and that of all schools. They learn about parties, what's cool, what's not, etc. Sure kids should be able to decide these on their own but the truth is, kids will fit in with other kids better if they are aware of these unwritten social rules. Cyber-bullying is too often seen as one of the worst forms of bullying. This can be true every-so-often, but social exclusion is a far more common yet under-discussed form of bullying. It's under looked because it isn't as obvious and kids can exclude others without any intention for harm.
My second reason is that it teaches kids about pop culture, and about how inappropriate the internet can be first hand. It always seems like protecting parents end up causing bullying to their kids because they don't allow their child to explore the real world and engage in mature activities (of course dangerous ones are okay to disallow.)

This title contains:

Language
Privacy & Safety
Parent of a 7 and 11-year-old Written byAW_Vancouver February 4, 2015

Question about Instagram Suggested to Follow

We are considering letting our 12 year old try Instagram.
We have checked all the privacy settings, but cannot figure out how to remove/delete the "Suggested people to follow" from the search tab. If anyone has any advice, please let me know.
Thanks.

This title contains:

Privacy & Safety
Adult Written byMichael Leifer February 11, 2013

Come on Common Sense - Where's the Instagram Guidance?

Come on Common Sense!!! You need to be more relevant.

Where's your article on Best Instagram Practices for Tweens and Young Teens?

I've been at meetings where people have asked you for that and for over a year you'd said it would be forthcoming. Where is it?? When are you going to have it? Do you need someone to write it?

Pierre Omidayar and the Omidyar Network gave you money to help parents. So help them vs just charging private schools as a "recommended non-profit donation" for your services that only offer the top level "digital citizen" solutions and not practical day to day current information that is applicable.

Our family rule is to not post pictures of yourself. But our daughter says that all of her friends are and she feels left out. What are the best ways to discuss with other parents in a diplomatic and nuanced way so they don't feel judged? Many parents in the modern world claim that they don't have the time to follow or see what their children are doing on Instagram or using SnapChat.

The only link you have on your instagram information is to a page that just talks about Facebook. Many of these young kids don't even want to be on facebook as that is what their parents do.

I also was not able to post this comment without rating the product and I don't want to have to rate a product to participate in the conversation. The rating should be optional. Parents want more than just ratings these days, they want plug and play recommendations that are usable for the evolving channels of the web. "How would you rate the learning potential for this?" is far too broad and lacks context. The app may be good for learning if it helps to teach kids to explore, share, curate, become more cultured, develop an aesthetic eye, demonstrates collaboratively how they can turn a phrase and provide engaging commentary or generates thinking that is thought provoking about the imagery being posted, but only if the postings and participation are managed and monitored correctly with parenting or mentor-based guidance for our Tweens and young Teens.

Please deliver on your mission with the services, and requested information that is topical vs just ratings.

Respectfully,
Michael

This title contains:

Privacy & Safety
Adult Written byLuketheReviewer July 29, 2020

Why I think that Instagram is OK for young kids

Adult Written byJjsjsjssj July 28, 2020

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