Q My daughter wants to join Instagram. She says it's like
A Instagram is an instant photo-sharing program
that allows users to take a picture, apply a cool-looking filter to
the photo and then share it instantly with friends. Like Facebook,
Instagram is a type of social network-users can follow each other,
see the photo feeds of those they follow and identify (or "like")
favorite photos and add comments to photos.
A picture's worth a thousand words, so it is no wonder
that Instagram is the hottest photo-sharing social network app
among teens and the twenty-something crowd.
Like all social networks, there are community rules and
requirements, privacy considerations and concerns about postings.
Try it out yourself first. Then touch on these important social
network topics when discussing Instagram with your
- Be honest about age. In the same form as
Facebook, Twitter and other popular social networks, the required
age for Instagram users is 13. This standard is in place due to the
Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act, which forbids
companies to collect private information from children under 13.
There is no age verification-most social networks work on the honor
system-however you'll send a strong message if require your child
to respect the rules.
- Review rules. It's easy to get caught up in
the photo-snapping frenzy, however, a quick review of rules and
guidelines can help minimize problems later. Visit Instagram's FAQ
page and remind your kids to think twice before taking photos or
making comments that bully, embarrass or slander. Remind them that
photos online can be copied, forwarded and printed out in just
seconds of posting-even if they are deleted later on. Thoughtful
posting is critical.
- Go private. Instagram uses a "follower" model,
which means that if your profile is public, anyone can follow you
on Instagram. There is, however, a private option where users must
approve anyone who wants to follow them before their photos can be
seen. Parents of young teens should encourage them to use the
privacy setting and discourage them from allowing strangers to
follow them on Instagram.
Sharon Cindrich is a mother of two tech-savvy kids from Virginia Beach. Learn more at sharoncindrich.com.
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