As harmless as the social media platform called ‘Instagram’ seems on the surface – a photo and video editing platform – many dark areas loom around the corner. When not set up with proper privacy settings, the user needs to be extra vigilant to protect their eyes from the content that can pop up within a few clicks or swipes. 

Despite the creators efforts to keep inappropriate content out of its app, and safe for “13+” to use, images inappropriate for any age of eyes can still be found. Users are allowed to ‘Block’, ‘Report’, and ‘Unfollow’ accounts that they are not interested in or believe are not appropriate. In its simplest form the app is not harmful, though the psychological effects of any social media platform are still present with this app, like any. 

  • The picture on social media tells only a part of the story: “I am happy today.” “Here’s something beautiful.” “The light hit me just right.”
  • A 2018 study conducted by York University in Toronto found that young adult women using social media often compare their appearance with that of their female peers and think negative thoughts about their own bodies.

One of the standards and contributing factors to the negative psychological and emotional side effects is the need to look “perfect” – body, house, vacation, kids, etc. Kids using the popular app know that this standard exists, but still need their outlet to be truly ‘themselves’, or explore other personalities and behaviours.

FInsta & RInsta

That is where FInsta’s (Fake Instagram profile) come into the picture. A FInstagram account is the FAKE-Instagram account that kids will make to hide things they do not want seen from certain people’s eyes. Parents can get the hood pulled over their eyes if they are not aware of the possibility to have TWO accounts on Instagram, and will only be allowed to check the REAL Instagram account (or RInsta). Most teens claim that the FInsta account is the one where they can be silly and share goofy photos and stories that they don’t want everyone to see. However, the other inappropriate uses of the FInsta accounts are also prevalent: sharing inappropriate content under the disguise of someone else entirely.

We all hope for the best from our children and desire that the morals and values they were taught will help them make the correct choice when it comes to content being shared. As parents, we need to be checking our child’s content and addressing the issues before they become a problem – and be aware of the fakes and reals on the ‘Gram.

Talk to Your Kids About …

  • Families can talk about being smart about what and how they share on Instagram and online in general.
  • Discuss online advertising and shopping. How do you know that something is an ad? What about when your favorite Insta star says a product is good? Is shopping from within the app OK?
  • Talk about using features responsibly. Is it OK to livestream? How can you use the polling stickers in a fun way that won’t hurt any feelings?
  • Talk about the music used in Reels and apps like TikTok. How do they relate to our Christian values? What about dancing in videos?

Other resources

Sourced from Siouxland MMC