Instagram is a free photo, video and social network service that is used by people of all ages; however, it is especially popular with teenagers. Students use it to capture special moments, but also to carry on conversations —using photos, filters, comments, captions, emoticons, hashtags and links elsewhere to talk about things and share interests. It runs on mobile devices like smart phones, iPads and Android tablets.

Instagram has a specific help section created for parents that can be found here.

The best way to understand how Instagram works is to use it. Start with downloading Instagram from the App Store or Google Play. Create an account and log in.

Once you are logged in, you will see the Instragram feed. The people you have decided to follow will show up here. The Instragram feed is also the place where comments will appear from  people who follow you. You may comment on other people’s photos or “like” them by clicking on the heart under the photo.

The arrow in the top right will update the Instagram feed and show the latest photos posted from the people you follow.

The Instagram menu is at the bottom of the screen and consists of 5 buttons: Home (house), Explore (star), Feed (Instagram icon, Heart, and your profile settings.)

Home is your start page, the Instagram-feed that you arrived at when you logged in. Explore is where you look for new pictures or search for new people to follow. The Instagram icon in the middle allows you to post photos already residing on your phone or to let you take a new photo. The heart shows interactions, such as comments or if somebody likes your photos or is following you. The last menu item, your profile, shows you information and the latest pictures that you uploaded.

By default, photos and videos you share in Instagram can be seen by anyone (unless you share them directly) but you can easily make your account private so you get to approve anyone who wants to follow you. To do that, tap Profile on the bottom right, then Edit Your Profile next to your profile picture. Scroll down to see if “Posts Are Private” is turned on or off. If turned off, you can make your photos private by toggling the switch to on. (Android users, tap Profile and Edit Your Profile. Be sure “Posts are Private” is checked.)

Very important: If you update or reinstall the app, make sure your settings are still the way you want them.

Even if your posts are private, your profile is public (anyone can see your profile photo, username and bio). You can add up to 10 lines of text about yourself, so parents and their daughters may want to talk about what’s appropriate to say on their bio screens.

Respect other people’s privacy. If someone else is in a photo you post, make sure that person’s OK with your sharing or tagging them in it.

Do not post information about where you go to school, your age, your name, or any other identifying information. Even if your posts are private, your profile is public (anyone can see your profile photo, username and bio). You can add up to 10 lines of text about yourself, so parents and their daughters may want to talk about what’s appropriate to say on their bio screens.

When you create a new account on Instagram, By default, all your photos will be public, so it is important that you set your Instagram account to Private. Friends will send a request to follow you; the request will appear in your news feed. Click on “Edit your Profile,” scroll to the bottom, and set to private.  See “Controlling your Visibility”

Instagram - Posts are Private

Instagram - Posts are Private - Are you sure

Photos can be tagged with hash tags so that people who do not follow can find them.

You can block someone to get them to stop following you. People aren’t notified when you block them. Learn more about blocking people.

Your media represents you. That probably seems obvious, but remember it can keep on representing you well into the future, because content posted online or with phones is pretty impossible to take back. So it’s a good idea to think about how what you post now will reflect on you down the line. If you think it might hurt a job prospect, damage a relationship or upset your grandmother, consider not sharing it.

Manage your visibility. The photos you’re tagged in (videos can’t be tagged) appear in the “Photos of You” section of your profile (for now, Photos of You is only available for the iPhone and Android apps). They can be visible to anyone unless your account’s private. Others can tag you in photos they post but,
if you don’t like the way you’re shown, you can hide a photo from your profile or untag yourself (it’ll still be visible on Instagram but not associated with your username and not in your profile). If you don’t want photos to appear in Photos of You automatically, you can prevent that by turning off “Add Automatically” —just tap Profile , then the Photos of You tab and the gear button and choose “Add Manually.” (Android users, tap the Photos of You tab , then the three small squares .)

Consider the whole image. What’s in the background of a photo or video could indicate where it was taken or what the people in it were doing at the time. Is that information you want to convey?

Your media could show up anywhere. Instagram videos can be embedded in any website, and it’s important to remember that anything digital can be copied and shared by others. So even if you limit the audience, be careful not to share anything that could be a problem if someone were to pass it around.

Use a strong password, and don’t share it. This gives you some control over how you’re represented in social media because other people won’t be able to use your password to impersonate you.

You can untag yourself. Only the person who posts can tag people in the post, but—if that person’s profile is public—anyone tagged by the poster can untag themselves. You can untag yourself by tapping on your username in a post, but only if the post is public or if you follow the person who tagged you.

Block someone if necessary. If someone’s harassing you, such as repeatedly tagging you in photos you don’t like or sending you a lot of direct messages or trying to engage you in a creepy conversation, you can block them so they can’t tag you, contact you directly or mention you in comments. They also won’t be able to see your profile or search for your account. To block a user, go to his or her profile and select the Menu button on the top right side, then select Block User. (Android users, go to the profile you want to block and tap the three small squares . Select Block User.) Learn more about blocking people.

You can delete your posts. If you ever want to delete one of your own pictures or videos, just click on the three dots in the lower right corner under it (see screenshot) and select Delete. That menu also lets you share or email your post. But if you’re sharing media on Facebook, Twitter or other services, deleting from Instagram doesn’t delete them elsewhere.

Be picky about who you share with. Instead of sharing a photo with all your followers, you can select who can see it. Click on the Instagram Direct icon in the top right corner and choose who to share it with (up to 15 people).

Flag problematic posts. You can report other people’s inappropriate photos, videos or comments—or users who violate Instagram’s community guidelines. Just click on the dots at the bottom of the screen below the post, then on Report Inappropriate. If it’s urgent, email Instagram from the Help Center. You can find the Help Center by tapping Profile, then the gear button . (Android users, tap Profile , then the three small squares .) That takes you to a screen where you can click Support.

If an account is established with the intent of bullying or harassing another person or if a photo or comment is intended to bully or harass someone, please report it. You can also learn what to do if you think someone is pretending to be you or someone else on Instagram.

Once you’ve reported the abuse, consider blocking the person.

Learn how to report other accounts or posts that don’t follow Instagram’s Community Guidelines.

  • Follow my daughter on Instagram.
  • Peek at her photos and leave comments on the ones I really like to encourage those creative efforts and keep the juices flowing.
  • Check the comments on her photos every once in awhile and see who’s following who.
  • Chat about the activity on her account every once in awhile together. e.g. “Did you see that great photo that your friend Laur234a posted?”

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