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3 minutes reading time
11-17 years
Social Media
Tool description
© photothek.net

Instagram is one of the most popular apps among young people. Experiences are shared there as stories, influencers show what’s hot at the moment, users find out about a news channel or are simply entertained.

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In a nutshell:

  • social network that can be used free of charge after registration via the app
  • Publish and view photos, short videos and so-called stories
  • Minimum age: 13 years
  • Caution: contains a lot of advertising, children and young people can be confronted with inappropriate content, data is passed on to Facebook

What is Instagram?

Instagram, or Insta for short, is more than just a picture platform. Above your own feed (accessible in the app via the house icon), there are current stories from users you follow. These disappear again after 24 hours. Also, the feed displays the newly posted photos and videos of the subscribed channels and people.

Users find a wide variety of content on Insta: Postings from stars and starlets, brands and products, current challenges, and even personal profiles of friends. You can respond with likes and comments.

Custom posts can be created and edited with filters, emojis, fonts, etc. directly in the app. In captions, your own content – i.e. photos and videos – is assigned to topics with a hashtag. Under Instagram Reels (accessible below the feed via the video icon) you can find short videos in TikTok style.

What particularly fascinates children and young people about Instagram?

Part of Instagram ‘s popularity lies in its limitation to photos and videos. Various and easy-to-use tools help to get the best out of your own image. Young people in particular want to put themselves in the best light and test out their effect on others. The app also makes it quick and easy to document and share the best moments you experience with friends or family.

Children and young people are always finding new content about their idols on Instagram. You can follow what they are doing around the clock, commenting and liking pictures. Insta is a great way to while away the time waiting for the bus or to keep an eye on what your crush from the next class is doing in his free time.

What is problematic about the offer?

After registering on Instagram with an email address or via Facebook account, all information is first publicly visible to everyone. This includes, for example, the name, profile picture and description, and all shared photos and videos. Only when the own account is set to private, pictures can only be seen by the own followers.

The app enables so-called crossposting. This means that with one click, a photo can also be shared on other networks such as Facebook can be shared. This happens quickly, even unintentionally.

Instagram can determine the location of users via the posts they make. Privately set accounts prevent this. However, a location can be added to each posted image manually afterwards.

Certain content on Instagram can also be problematic for young people. These are not only inappropriate images for children and young people, but also advertising, for example. Influencers play a special role here, which young people do not always recognize.

The joint privacy policy of Facebook and Instagram, to which each user agrees upon registration, allows the sharing of user data with other companies of the Facebook group and with third parties.

What does the provider think?

The official minimum age for using Instagram is 13, but there is no effective age control so far. Until your child is 18 years old, you must consent to its use. There are extensive usage and setting instructions. At Handysektor you can read the terms of use in brief.

In March 2021, Instagram announced measures to better protect minors. For example, a reliable age query is planned. Then measures that have already been introduced can take effect: adults can already not send messages to young people who do not follow them. This is intended to reduce the risk of cybergrooming. Safety instructions in the app should also contribute to this. Additional measures and guidance for parents are in the works. Read more directly on Instagram.

What should parents pay attention to?

Together with your child, decide at what age and according to what rules he or she is allowed to use Instagram. Not all photos need to be shared with everyone or even just friends over the internet!

Discuss with your child to change his profile to private immediately after registration. Then it can be viewed only by pre-confirmed followers. If your child wants to share the photos from Instagram on other networks as well, the privacy settings should be adjusted there as well.

Show your child how to block or report other users and explain when these features are useful – for example, if someone insults your child in the comments. Your child should also not simply accept subscription requests from strangers. Instagram can find out the location through the posted items. Your child should know that this is how you could be found by strangers.

Stay interested and check in regularly to see who your child is following on Instagram and who is following them. Always be responsive if there are unpleasant experiences on the platform.

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