Parents guide to Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

Parents guide to Instagram: Everything You Need to Know

As a parent, it is important to be aware of the different social media platforms that your children might be using. Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps for teenagers and young adults, and it can be a great way for parents to stay connected with their children's lives. In this blog post, we will provide you with a parents' guide to Instagram. We will cover Instagram parental controls and how to protect your children's privacy.

What is Instagram?

Instagram is a social media app that was created in 2010 and was acquired by Facebook in 2012. As of Jan 2022, Instagram has over 1.47 billion users in the world. The app is primarily used to share photos and videos, and users can follow other users to see their posts. Users can also add filters and effects to their photos and videos, and they can edit them using the Instagram app.


Instagram also has features such as:

  • Stories, which allows users to post photos and videos that expire after 24 hours
  • Reels, which is a feature that allows users to create videos with multiple clips and music
  • Direct messages, which allow users to send photos and videos directly to other users
  • Hashtags, which allow users to find posts about specific topics
  • Tags, which allow users to tag other users, businesses or locations to their photos and videos

Instagram can be a great way for children to stay connected with their friends and family, and it can also be a great way for parents to stay connected with their children.

How does Instagram work?

To create an Instagram account, you need to download the app and create a username and password. You can then add photos and videos to your profile, and you can follow other users.


When you post a photo or video on Instagram, it will be displayed on your profile and on the feeds of your followers. If you add a hashtag to your post, it will be added to the hashtag page for that topic. Your post can also be shared on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.

If you have a private account, only your followers will be able to see your posts. If you have a public account, anyone can see your posts.

What do parents need to know about Instagram?

As a parent, it is important to be aware of the different social media platforms that your children might be using. Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps among teenagers and young adults and can help parents to stay connected to their kids' lives. However, there are also risks associated with using Instagram, and parents need to be aware of these before allowing their children to use the app.


Here are some things that parents need to know about Instagram:

  • Instagram is a photo and video-sharing app that can be used on smartphones and tablets. Anyone can reach out to and follow anyone else on the app, meaning that there is a risk of children being exposed to inappropriate content or contact from strangers
  • The app can be used to share photos and videos with friends, family, and other followers, but it can also be used for broadcasting publicly. This means that without the correct privacy settings, anything posted on Instagram can be seen by anyone, including people you don't know
  • There have been cases of cyberbullying and harassment on Instagram, so parents need to talk to their children about how to deal with these situations if they occur
  • There are also some risks associated with posting photos and videos on Instagram, as many people use the app to share personal information about themselves. Parents need to talk to their children about these risks and make sure that they understand how to use the app safely
  • Instagram is owned by Facebook so shares some of the same privacy concerns as that platform

Is there an Instagram monitoring app for parents?

Making sure children are safe is a natural concern for any parent, so there are a few different options for keeping an extra close eye on your kids' Instagram activity. For example, you can install a third-party Instagram monitoring app like SecureTeen or mSpy to keep track of your child's activity on the app. 


It’s worth noting that monitoring apps can’t replace the importance of talking to your child about staying safe online.

These apps can be used to track what your child is posting, who they are talking to, and how much time they are spending on the app. They can also be used to set limits on what your child can do on Instagram, such as how much time they can spend on the app each day or which features they are allowed to use.


There is no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to choosing an Instagram monitoring app for parents, so you should research the different options and decide which one is best for your family.

Does Instagram have parental controls?

Yes, Instagram does have some parental controls that parents can use to limit their children's activity on the app. For example, parents can set up restrictions on their child's account, such as limiting who can see their child's posts or preventing their child from being able to search for or contact certain users. Other settings such as sensitive content control and comment moderation can also be used to help make sure that your child isn't a target for cyberbullying, harassment and inappropriate comments.


Instagram parental controls are quite limited, so parents who are concerned about their child's activity on the app may want to consider using a third-party app to keep an eye on their child's activity on Instagram.


It is important to note that both in-built and third-party parental controls are not 100% effective, and there is always a risk that something could slip through the net. It is therefore important for parents to talk to their children about Instagram and how to use it safely, in addition to using the Instagram parental controls.

How do you block explicit content on Instagram?

Instagram has recently introduced sensitive content control settings to help parents protect their children from seeing inappropriate content on the app. To enable these settings:


  1. Go to your child's profile on the app
  2. Tap the Settings menu in the upper right corner and tap ‘Account’
  3. Tap ‘Sensitive Content Control’
  4. You can set the settings to:
    • Default state (‘Limit’)
    • See more (‘Allow’)
    • See less of some types of sensitive content (‘Limit Even More’)

Setting parental controls on Instagram

Setting parental controls on Instagram can be done in several ways:

1. Set your child’s account to private

This will prevent strangers from being able to view your child’s photos and videos, as well as contact them. To set your child’s account to private, simply:


  1. Go to your child’s profile on the app
  2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner
  3. Tap Settings > Privacy
  4. Use the toggle to switch to 'Private Account'

2. Block suspicious accounts

You can block any account that you think might be trying to contact your child inappropriately, or that you simply don't want them interacting with. To block an account:


  1. Go to the profile of the account you want to block
  2. Tap the three dots in the top right corner
  3. Tap Block or Report User

3. Report abusive content

If your child comes across content that makes them feel uncomfortable or is inappropriate, you can report it to Instagram. To do this:


  1. Tap the three dots in the top right corner of the post
  2. Tap Report
  3. Select a reason for reporting and submit it

4. Turn off comments

If you're worried about inappropriate comments being left on your child's photos and videos, you can turn off comments altogether. To do this:


  1. Go to your child’s profile
  2. Choose a post
  3. Tap the three vertical dots above the post
  4. Tap Turn Off Commenting


You may also turn off comments before publishing a post. To disable comments, go to the Advanced Settings menu and choose Turn Off Commenting.

Further tips for the safety of your child on Instagram

Here are some further tips that you can follow to help ensure your child stays safe on Instagram:

  • Teach your child not to share personal information on the app, such as their address, phone number or school name
  • Talk to them about what is appropriate to post on Instagram and what isn't. This includes discussing cyberbullying, online stranger danger and safe sharing practices.
  • Encourage your children to only accept friend requests from people they know in real life
  • Explain to them that people they interact with online may not be who they seem and that they should never agree to meet up with someone they've only met online
  • Encourage them to use the privacy settings on Instagram to help keep themselves safe. These include limiting who can see their posts and videos, blocking suspicious accounts and reporting abusive content
  • If your child is being bullied or harassed on Instagram, you can report the problem to Instagram and block the user. You can also contact the police if you think your child is in danger
  • Keep an eye on your child's activity on Instagram, and talk to them regularly about their online experiences. This will help you to spot any potential problems early on and address them before they become serious

Now you know more about Instagram and how to keep your child safe on the app. If you would like more information about child safety and parental controls for children of various ages, you can refer to our GoHenry guide to online age limits. This handy guide will help you decide which online activities are appropriate for your child, and why to set parental controls on various devices and apps.
Written by GoHenry Published Mar 31, 2022 ● 7 min read