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 97 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 261 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
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 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
Adult Written byMJFM November 20, 2014

Parents just don't get it...

To be perfectly honest, if you are a parent, you are always looking at things from a very protective point of view, especially when it comes to social media. You want to protect your kids from everything. "You might as well just stick them in a box," says Riley Powers, a frequent Instagram user. However, your kids are going to learn most of the curse words and violence from you, the parents. You might have a fight with your spouse and use some innapropriate language. Now, I'm not saying that it should be used for every age, but fifth graders now a days have IPhones, so how are you going to stop them from getting Instagram or Twitter or Vine? It would almost be impossible, so why even try? You all just don't know what it's like being a teenager in the twenty-first century.
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
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 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
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 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 byNWarthen July 5, 2015
I've had Instagram for over 3 years, and honestly, as long as you do the right things for your child's account when they're younger, they should be completely safe. Yes, there are people who post pictures with swear words, drugs/alcohol, sexual references, etc. However, it's difficult to actually find and access those accounts unless you find it randomly (which may happen from time to time). Also, although your child is young, you MUST accept the fact that he or she had already heard of the things that you're afraid of them seeing on Instagram. The chances are, your child has heard these things from the bus or the school they go to. As long as you make sure that they don't repeat those things, then you should be fairly well off. Although it can be fairly safe, I still have some tips if your child is younger (11ish): 1. Get an account for yourself in their first year of their Instagram-ing. Through this, you can see what pictures they're liking, what they're posting, their bio, and their followers/who is following them. 2. Make sure their account is on PRIVATE. This means NO ONE can access their pictures or anything else on their account unless they get their permission to follow them. If their account is public, then anyone can follow them. 3. Check their profile. Anyone can see their bio or profile picture, even if their account is on private. 4. Even though their profile is theirs and theirs alone, if they post anything embarrassing, make sure to tell them that it is (nicely). Although their reaction may be mean now, they'll most likely thank you for it in the long run. After all, anything you post on the Internet stays on the Internet forever. 5. Don't hold them on TOO tight of a leash. If some people they don't know personally follows them, don't immediately say "unfollow". Surprisingly, the chances are high that that person is just as young as your child and genuinely nice. Chances are also high that they could be a new Internet-Friend. 6. If you've heard about someone's account being "hacked", I'd just completely forget about it. This happens very rarely, and if it does, just delete the account. If they change the password and you can't delete the account, tell their friend to block the person and contact the Instagram employees. I hope this will help you and your child have a safe and happy Instagram experience.
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 Written bymediamom38 June 28, 2013

Not for Children. Parents please look at what your kids are doing.

This app is a platform where kids can easily cyber bully and not be held accountable for it. There are images talking about suicide, cutting, sex, violence and things that are just plain crude. This is a common app used among kids younger than 13 because parents feel like it is safe. WRONG. FYI kids are lying about their age to access the app. I would rather have my child on Facebook. I use this as a photo sharing website. Tweens and younger are using it as a social media website. Foul language, bullying and talk of suicide/cutting had me making sure my child was not on this site anymore. She is the official age of 13 and I still don't think she should be spending her time on this app. The introduction of videos makes it even worse. Privacy controls and the lack of the publics knowledge about this site make it even worse. Any pervert can look at your child's pictures and take a snapshot on their Ipod or Iphone of them or anyone else in their family. I don't think children under 18 should be on this site.

This title contains:

Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Privacy & Safety
Adult Written byAristarchus September 4, 2012

Not family friendly

The ability for anyone to read unfiltered comments makes this app inappropriate for teen use.

This title contains:

Language
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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 byscrpnmom74 September 30, 2012

Be aware

You really need to be aware of the privacy settings on Instagram. Anyone can follow your kids profile/photos and I have seen kids posting info. such as names, ages, schools, etc...things that clearly we as parents do not want the world to know. Once the photos are out there, there really is no telling who will see them or use them. I honestly thought Instagram was to take fun pictures, little did I know.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Language
Privacy & Safety
Adult Written byparivesh September 26, 2013

Depends on how you take or use it.

it depends on how you use it, so it is suggested to use in good way, when you encounter bad image, close it, don't follow random people as they my post bad things that will appear in you page. Please do not compete with friends to get more followers by simply posting random things or following random people. Lets make internet a good thing to use. And parents should follow their kid and should teach them when something goes wrong, and kids should share every things with their parents.

This title contains:

Positive Messages
Positive role models
Violence & scariness
Sexy stuff
Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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 bysludgepickle December 4, 2013

NOT for kids, ok for adults

Fun for adults to share pictures with friends, but NOT for kids. Way too easy to come across sexually explicit photos.

This title contains:

Sexy stuff
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
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 byLindaN May 20, 2016

Instagram = Finstagram

Instagram is "the thing" with my daughter's middle school set, so despite having reservations I allowed her to set up an account to test the waters of social media. We agreed on ground rules, including no geotagging or other location identification allowed, only follow/allow to follow people we know IRL, nothing posted that we wouldn't want Grandma to see. The problems were apparent immediately: -ANYONE can send a follow request or a direct photo. If your child ever "hearts" an image on a public account the spambots WILL find them! My daughter received several follow requests from strangers with inappropriate profile photos and sexual come-ons in their bios. We reported the accounts, but the perpetrators simply opened new ones. -Instagram's recent update allows users to access multiple accounts from a single device without needing to log in or out. Since accounts aren't linked to a single phone number or email address, the one "allowed" account your child has is now a jumping off point to create numerous "Finstagram" ("fake Instagram") accounts that you won't know about. Turns out that multiple accounts are the rule rather than the exception, and besides dodging mom & dad, kids use them to boost their follower/following numbers since one kid = multiple followers. I found my daughter's other accounts totally by accident. Yes, she broke several of our other ground rules with those accounts as well. - It's all about the numbers. Kids beg, plead, and post for "hearts" on their photos, promising to do dares or offering TBHs in exchange. Kids constantly compare who has more followers and often open up their Finstagram accounts to the public in order to increase their stats. My daughter was not ready for Instagram and no longer has access to the app. Even if she were mature enough not to succumb to the peer pressure of "Finstagram", I'm not at all comfortable with how easy Instagram makes it for random strangers to reach our kids.

This title contains:

Ease of Play
Sexy stuff
Privacy & Safety

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