- Alcohol, Drugs, and Smoking
- Back to School
- Cell Phone Parenting
- Character Strengths and Life Skills
- Cyberbullying, Haters, and Trolls
- Early Childhood
- Facebook, Instagram, and Social
- Learning with Technology
- Marketing to Kids
- Mental Health
- News and Media Literacy
- Privacy and Internet Safety
- Screen Time
- Sex, Gender, and Body Image
- Special Needs and Learning Difficulties
- Technology Addiction
- Violence in Media
Should I let my under-13-year-old join Instagram (or any other social network)?
The reason the age minimum of many social sites and apps is 13 is because of the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which protects kids from marketing come-ons. Many kids easily bypass the age restriction by simply registering with a false birth date, or they can get your permission to sign up.
We advise kids to wait until they're about 13 for safety and privacy reasons, but also because this is the developmentally appropriate stage when kids are more able to distinguish what is and what is not appropriate to share publicly. This also is the age when kids need more distance from parental control so they can explore their identities and exercise their independence.
If you decide to allow your kid to join (or find out they've already signed up), make sure to set some guidelines around when and how they can use the service.
Familiarize yourself with it -- you can sign up, too -- so you can understand what your kid is seeing and doing online.
Stay involved and help them follow these five rules:
- Use privacy settings.
- Think before you post.
- Be respectful.
- Call out cyberbullying if you see it. Don't be a bystander.
- Know that anything you post online can be hard to take back and can be used in ways you didn't intend.