Instagram Stories: Teach Your Kids to Use Them Right
Having been around for years, Instagram was always among trendy and most favored social media platforms for all ages. The app is exceptionally popular among teens, tweens and younger ones for its unique way of interaction with people online. Apart from majoring in picture-sharing, Instagram also allows for posting videos, exchanging public comments and sharing more privy stuff via direct messages.
For everybody, especially kids, it is an immediate and fun way of sharing their life stories, promoting, showing interests and finding ones to follow, make friends and even more. However, talking about the app as a social media we are always right to ask: “Is Instagram safe for kids?” The answer is controversial, and the newly introduced Snapchat-like feature – Instagram stories – only adds more to ponder.
Instagram stories have been around only for half a year, but today it is an inseparable part of the app users’ online life. The feature was launched to allow people post as many photos or videos at a time as one desires without overflooding the main feed. The feature is being hipped and all the rage among young ones in particular.
Children usually think of an Instagram story as a way to express themselves in full and often post daring, bold and provocative posts. Also, the story seen by a kid may be perceived as real and believed – it only exists that way, while indeed it may have a lot of bad and inappropriate moments disguised. With a thought about a short life of this feed, kids often neglect online safety and forget about Instagram dangers which unfortunately take a prominent spot among various online caveats.
Similar to Snapchat, the Instagram story post exists only for 24 hours, which tempts people to post extreme posts with the assurance they would be available only temporarily. One can find it even more exciting when applying scribbles, icons and other fun tweaks to the shot or footage posted in the story line.
Besides, stories on Instagram can be reacted to by sending a private message to the owner. This is where the feature gets tricky, especially for young ones. With private messaging, cyberbullies have all the chances of reaching out to the kid without leaving a trace others could follow. Public comments to stories are not allowed; thus, vile plans can be fulfilled covertly, and chances of them being disclosed decrease drastically.
Sitting on the top of all feeds, Instagram stories are very easy and immediate to access. Unless kid’s account is private, anybody could peek at the post. Strangers or ill-intended people can always find what the kid is up to and use this information for own goals. Thus, it is essential for children to understand the proper use of stories in order not to get into a challenging or uncomfortable situation.
Moreover, unlike Snapchat, anybody can screenshot the story post without the author being notified about it. Unfortunately, the statement that everything that goes onto the Internet stays there forever proves one more time. Due to being able to receive a private message or getting a compromising image snapped, our vulnerable young ones may find themselves in a situation that involves cyberbullying or even blackmail.
Instagram stories can also be easily abused if not used properly. When teaching kids the Internet behavior and etiquette, parents tend to forget that their children can be bold enough to attack first as well. Among pretty feeds, a kid can post bullying stories and leave an imprint on somebody else’s online life and reputation whatsoever. Therefore, parents must be leaders for their children and explain to them the proper way of using the Instagram new feature and highlight the importance of respecting other feeds.
One of the core means for parents in educating children to understand Internet threats and behave online is a conversation. Discussing such issues with kids will deliver more effect than being an intruder to manage their online life. Moreover, widely used parental control applications don’t come with a feature of controlling Instagram stories.
Thus, the Snapchat-resembling offer from Instagram has to be treated reasonably and wisely in order not to bring an awkward, unpleasant experience in the kid’s life. In a modern and rapidly evolving society with constantly emerging technologies, it is hard to find a unique way to digital safety and online comfort.
With a launch of stories, Instagram provided an additional challenge for parents to keep their children safe. No matter if parents track children’s online activity, use monitoring apps or restrict Internet usage, there is no real substitute for talking openly with kids about their experiences online to save them from online threats.