Instagram is a social media app used to share photos, videos and messages. Whether it's through Stories, Feed, Live, IGTV or Direct, our mission is to bring people closer to the people and things they love. In order to do this, we believe it's essential that Instagram is a safe, supportive place for people to express themselves. The minimum age to have an Instagram account is 13. Teens use Instagram to celebrate big milestones, share everyday moments, keep in touch with friends and family, build communities of support and meet others who share their passions and interests.
In this video guide, we gathered a group of parents who work at Instagram to talk about the tools they use to foster positive online experiences for their teens.
There are a number of tools you can share with your teen that will give them more control over their digital identity and footprint. One of the first things you want to talk about with your teen is whether their account is going to be public or private. Making sure they understand that they have control over who sees and interacts with the things they post online will empower them to feel like they can be themselves on Instagram. Learn more about all the tools and policies we have to help keep teens safe
The first choice you can make with your teen is whether their account is public or private. If your teen's account is private, they approve the people who follow them, and can remove followers at any time. Private accounts mean your teen's content can't be seen by anyone they haven't approved. If your teen is public, anyone can see the content they post on Stories, Feed, or Live, and can follow them without needing approval.
If your teen already has a public account, they can switch to private at any time; they can also go from private to public. They can remove followers, choose who can comment and more. Your teen can also turn off “Show Activity Status” so friends can't see when they're online.
How to: Your teen can choose a public or private account by selecting “Account Privacy” in settings.
Your teen can block accounts they don't want to interact with. This will block people from seeing and commenting on their posts.
How to: Your teen can block an account by tapping “...” on their profile, then tapping “Block.”
Tip: When you block an account, that person is not notified. You can unblock an account at any time.
When it comes to spending time on Instagram, there's no right or wrong answer when it comes to how much is too much or just right.
There are a number of tools to help you and your family understand and take control of the time your teen is spending on the app. You can work together to decide what the right balance is for your family.
Your Activity Dashboard shows your teen how much time they've spent on Instagram for the past day and week, as well as their average time on the app. Your teen can tap and hold the blue bars to see how much time they've spent on Instagram on a certain day.
Your teen can use the daily reminder to set a limit on how much time they want to spend on the Instagram. Setting the daily reminder together can be a good way to talk about how your teen is using Instagram throughout the day.
How to: Your teen can turn off or change their daily reminder at any time.
Your teen can use the “Mute Push Notifications” feature to silence Instagram notifications for a period of time. When the preset time is up, notifications will return to their normal settings without having to reset them.
How to: To mute their notifications, your teen can tap “Notification Settings.”
Teens can feel pressure to see and interact with all of their friends' posts. When they scroll through every post on their feed since they last logged on, they'll see a message that says “You're All Caught Up.” This way, they'll know that they're up to date on everything their friends and communities are up to.
How to: “You're All Caught Up” is enabled automatically.
We partnered with social media and education expert Ana Homayoun, M.A., P.P.S., author of Social Media Wellness, to create a set of 10 questions you can use to guide a conversation with your teen about Instagram. Our intention is that you use these questions to learn more about how your teen is using Instagram, and to ensure they're having a positive experience on the platform.
What do you like about Instagram?
What do you wish I knew about Instagram?
What are the top five Instagram accounts that you enjoy following?
What are some things you think about before you post something on Instagram?
If you have multiple Instagram accounts, what do you share in each account?
How do likes and comments affect how you feel about a post?
Do you know your followers? (If your teen has a private account, ask them how they decide who follows them.) What do you do when someone you don't know tries to contact you via direct message?
How do you feel about the amount of time you spend online?
Have you ever felt uncomfortable with something you saw or an experience you had online?
What would you do if you saw someone being bullied on Instagram? (Do you know about the reporting tools and the offensive comment filter on Instagram?)
Block is a tool your teen can use if someone is bothering them on Instagram. When your teen blocks someone, the other person isn't notified, but they'll no longer be able to interact with your teen in any way.
A comment is a reaction to the content someone posts on Instagram. Comments appear below posts on your teen's feed. Comments can use words or emojis.
We want to foster a positive, diverse community. Everyone who uses Instagram must adhere to our Community Guidelines which are designed to create a safe and open environment for everyone. This includes things like no nudity or hate speech. Not following these guidelines may result in deleted content, disabled accounts or other restrictions.
Instagram Direct is where teens can message each other individually or in groups. They can also share photos and videos with just the people they're messaging.
Explore is where teens will see photos and videos from accounts and tags they might be interested in. Explore is different for everyone — the content changes depending on accounts and hashtags your teen follows.
Feed is where teens can see posts from the accounts they follow. Teens generally see feed posts as being more celebratory or special. Feed posts can be photos or videos.
IGTV is a place for vertical video up to one hour. Your teen can find videos from their favorite creators, and can make their own longer content. IGTV is a standalone app as well as within Instagram.
Live and Video Chat
Your teen can go live to share with their followers in real time. When live, they can invite friends to join them, co-host a live session or leave comments and send hearts. They can also video chat in Direct with up to four people.
A post refers to the media your teen is putting on their Feed or on Stories. This can be video or photos.
Your teen’s Instagram profile is where their friends and followers will find their posts, and can access their stories. It also includes a short bio. If your teen’s profile is private, only their main profile picture and bio is visible.
Reporting is a way your teen can let Instagram know that a post, account or comment is inappropriate. Your teen can report any post or comment that they believe violates our community guidelines.
Stories disappear from the app after 24 hours, unless your teen has enabled archiving, which makes their expired stories available only to them. Your teen can share them in their Stories Highlights. Anyone who can view your teen's stories can screenshot them.
Organizations we worked with to develop Know How To Talk With Your Teen About Instagram: A Parent's Guide.
Instagram is the most positive experience when you follow inspiring and uplifting accounts.
Luis is a socially responsible creative whose art and design emphasizes mental health, gender diversity, positive social impact and empowerment for survivors of abuse. He encourages empathy and solidarity through his illustrative and mixed media work and strives to create an inclusive and positive community.
Tolly is an ethical and sustainable fashion blogger who has been running her slice of the internet since she was young. She focuses on raising awareness of sustainability and ethics issues within the fashion industry, inspiring her followers to make responsible choices while still experimenting with style.
MC Soffia is a rapper from São Paulo who uses her music and platform to empower young black girls by openly discussing racism in Brazilian society; Soffia and her mother host together an IGTV program -- a round table discussion on a variety of topics that explore the different points of view of two women from different generations.