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How to Block and Report Cyberbullies on Instagram

Help empower your teen by teaching them how to use the app's features and settings.

Where there's social media, there are cyberbullies, and Instagram is no exception. In fact, one 2017 survey cites that 20 percent of teens are bullied on Instagram. While most teens use it to have fun and connect with friends, there are lots of ways to spread hate, so it's important for teens to know how to block, mute, and report people. Of course, settings are just a start. It's a good idea to talk through how to manage mean or hurtful comments before they become an issue. Most situations can be handled by muting or unfollowing someone. But if someone is actively and repeatedly targeting your kid, encourage them to report the behavior to the platform and, if necessary, their school. If the bully is threatening your kid, you may need to contact local law enforcement (see the bullying laws for your state).

Here's how to block and report bullies. Note that the settings are a bit different in the app vs. on the website:

In the app

  • Go to any post by the bully.
  • Click the three dots to the right of their screen name.
  • Tap Unfollow, Report, Restrict, or Mute. (Mute hides the person's post from your feed but keeps you as a friend/follower, and Restrict makes their comments on your posts only visible to them unless you approve it and they won't see when you're active or if you've read their DMs).

On the browser

  • Go to the bully's profile page.
  • Click the three dots to the right of their screen name.
  • Tap either Block or Report.

The bully won't get a notification that you've blocked them, but they won't be able to see your profile, posts, or stories. They will also see "User Not Found" instead of "Follow," and can still see your comments and likes on public posts. They can also still mention you unless you change your username.

Here's how to manage comments:

In the app

  • Tap your profile icon.
  • Tap the three lines in the upper-right corner, then tap the Settings gear at the bottom of the page.
  • Tap Privacy and Security.
  • Tap Comment Controls.
  • Use the filters to control who can leave comments, whose comments you want to block, and whether you want to filter using keywords (either by default or ones you choose).
  • Using Restrict lets you approve someone's comments without them knowing. 

On the browser

  • Click on your profile icon.
  • Click the gear icon.
  • Click Privacy and Security.
  • Click Edit Comment Settings.
  • Filter comments by choosing their default filter or entering specific keywords.
Christine Elgersma
Christine Elgersma is the editor for learning app reviews as Senior Editor, Learning Content. Before coming to Common Sense, she helped cultivate and create ELA curriculum for a K-12 app and taught the youth of America as a high school teacher, a community college teacher, a tutor, and a special education instructional aide. Christine is also a writer, primarily of fiction and essays, and loves to read all manner of books. When she's not putting on a spontaneous vaudeville show with her daughter, Christine loves to hike and listen to music, sometimes simultaneously.