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.
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Comments

Kid, 12 years old

You should just have parent supervision and always have your kid ask you before they get an app. If they are mature, let them.
Teen, 13 years old written by Emma13

I got instagram when I was 12 but my parents checked on me and supervised which pictures I was posting when I turned 13 the age that you can actually have instagram they stopped supervising everything and they trusted me a because they saw that I was able to be safe so you should probably spend one year supervising and then let them Thank you so much
Teen, 14 years old written by katie_barraza

yes but first I would suggest about putting it on private and only letting the parent except who you let follow you and if you won't let them have your phone number or get in your life don't let them follow you also it really depends on how mature your child is. You should probably think of these different questions to ask them: What if someone sends you hateful comments? How will you react? What if someone you don't know contact you What do you do if someone is disrespectful to you online?" so thinks of these question before you let your child have social media my rating 12+ and it depends on what your posting and how mature
Kid, 12 years old

If it is 12 it is ok. A. Just 1 year away B. A to of countries make criminal offences bigger when you turn 12. It is not fair that we have more responsibilities but not rights Though I don't do social Media and even when I turn 13 I don't think I have to.
Teen, 13 years old written by a.f.2003

It just really depends on how mature your child is. You should probably think of these different questions to ask them: "What if someone sends you a nude pic, how do you respond? What if someone sends you hate/abusive comments? How will you react? What if someone you don't know contacts you? What do you do if someone is disrespectful to you online?" If they answer the questions responsibly, then they might be mature enough to have social media. Be sure to get a social media to follow your child on so that you can keep up with their most recent activities. You might also want to know their passwords, so that you can keep an eye on what they do online.
Kid, 11 years old

If they know to NOT post info about themselves and they don't go be friends with strangers, it should be totally ok. It's probably even better if their friends use it! :D
Kid, 12 years old

I'm 12 and I got Instagram back when I was 9 (most of my peers were 10 though becuase of my birthday) and there was no problem. Yes I probably posted some crib stuff I regret b that part of life and nothing seriously bad ever happened. If your 10 year old child wants Instagram, let them if they're friends have it, or you'll be putting them at a social disadvantage. Just make sure they only let people they know follow them, although they already know that, and let them be. But if your super strict by 12 they are full well able to manage it. Also, can psrents stop saying that they didn't get social media until they were bla blah and you survived. That was decades ago, just stop.
Kid, 12 years old

I am 12 and I have Instagram . All of my friends say I should get Facebook as it is more fun but I don't know weather I should . What you thinks I should do !????
Teen, 14 years old written by Morgan_Horse

I started using Instagram when I was 12.. Instagram is completely safe if you are a smart teen.. If you don't go looking for inappropriate things, you will rarely come accross them. If you block sketchy people who follow you/don't respond to strange messages, you won't have any problems there either.. My Instagram use is solely within the Instagram equestrian community, and when I do talk to strangers it is usually people I know of, have heard of, or a friend of someone I know. Occasionally I'll talk to strangers that want to learn more about certain horse things, and I have the information to give them.. Again, as long as you are smart there is no danger in such an innocent app.. If something takes a strange turn, you can just block the person involved.. And the only person that I've met online that I met in person afterwards was a saddle seat equitation world champion who was attending the same horse show as me, and I told my mother before hand. We didn't set up a meeting time or anything sketchy, we just ran into each other. Instagram is an extremely safe app, just tell your children to follow these rules. (These are my personal rules, I'm a 14 year old girl) -If an inappropriate account follows you, block them. -If someone you do not know direct messages you randomly, ignore it, if they persist and get suspicious, block them. -If you are like me and are part of a community, talking to strangers can be safe, just make sure that they are really who they say they are and really are a member of that community.. -If your parents are not okay with you talking to strangers at all, don't initiate direct message conversations.. If someone initiates one with you, politely state that you are not allowed to/do not wish to converse with someone you do not really know. A reasonable parent will be fine with you saying why you are not going to truly respond, for the sake of politeness. -If you accidentally find anything inappropriate, report it (it will then be reviewed and you may save a few people from coming across it as well) and then block the user.. -Be polite and don't swear, you want to have a good image, in and out of social media.. Future employers may look back at the digital footprint you left as a tween/teen. And that's it!
Kid, 12 years old

I'm smart enough to understand that you should never ever, share any of your personal information online with others. It's life-threatingly dangerous, especially if those people know your email address, passwords, or locations! It's really scary when someone asks you, "Do you have 'blah blah'?" I've been asked that before and I just said "No." And left immediately, it frightened me but I just did the best for my safety and privacy. I ahte it when someone asks you something somewhere out of the blue. That's why when someone does or something else you say, "No." Or "I do not like that." And then immediately leave asap! Then you tell a trusted adult/parent. Never let your guard down, never answer personal questions, and, be careful for what websites you search.
Parent of a 15 year old written by kristijones67

As a mother of a 14 year old girl, I've just deleted Instagram from my daughters phone. I deleted because of the ability to send text messages within Instagram without out me knowing. Even if you check the account, it is easy to delete conversations which makes it sneaky like Snapchat. It isn't always about sharing pictures... it is a way to get around parents that actually check text messages. The pictures teens share on Instagram are almost always G rated and mostly selfies, vacation pictures, events, etc. Instagram (just like Facebook) can make some teens feel left out or lonely because it is an instance glimpse of what your friends are doing. For example, a group of kids might be invited to a party on Friday night (of course they post pictures on Instagram), and your daughter isn't invited to the party. We all know what that feels like.... and is harder for teens. Speaking from experience, seeing what your missing is much worse then never knowing. My daughter is a much nicer and real person when she doesn't have her phone. Personally, I would hold off for as long as possible. I think all parents need to talk more about the impact that cellphones, apps, and games are having on our children.
Kid, 12 years old

Well. Maybe she's made online friends and doesn't want to give her phone number (which is clever) so she just dm's them. She's not trying to be 'sneaky' she's just talking to friends. And if they didn't invite her then they're not worth her time. So just leave her with ig and it'll be fine,
Teen, 14 years old written by kitty47

She is a bit young, but many 13 year olds are on Instagram these days. I started using Instagram just this year and there is inappropriate content but it's not very common. I would also advise you that if you do let your daughter to use Instagram make sure she puts her account on private so that no creepers can go on her account.
Teen, 17 years old written by Thequestionasker

Yes, I've had Instagram since I was around that age. You rarely find inappropriate things unless you look for them. If you trust your child to not to look for it, they should be fine with an account.