Intro to Instagram
Teens use Instagram to connect to friends, develop their passions and discover new communities to help them explore and grow. As a parent, you want to keep them safe and ensure that their interactions on Instagram are positive and have a healthy influence in their lives. We want that too, and we’re here to help.
On this site, you’ll find an overview of how Instagram works, and the many safety features available for teens to control their Instagram experience, such as who can see their photos and videos.
Top Questions from Parents
If your teens are using Instagram, the best way for you to learn about how it works is to ask them. Asking them about Instagram is not only a great way to learn about the app itself but also about how your children interact with their friends in social media. If you want general information about using and staying safe on Instagram, you can find out more below:
What is Instagram?
Instagram is an app that lets you connect with people through sharing photos and videos. You can explore your passions, discover new communities and follow people who share photos and videos you find interesting. You can comment on people’s posts, as well as have private conversations with our Direct messaging features. The app is available on Apple iOS, Android, Windows Phone and on the web.
What do teens do on Instagram?
Teens love sharing with their friends. Instagram is a simple, fun and engaging way for them to share photos and videos — in the moment or after the fact — with their friends and followers. In addition, Instagram is about socializing, having conversations and interacting with one another.
Does Instagram have a minimum age?
Yes. It’s 13, in compliance with our age policy.
If your child is younger than 13 and created an account on Instagram, you can show them how to delete their account. If you’d like to report an account belonging to someone under 13 or if you believe someone is impersonating your child who’s under 13, please fill out this form so that we can investigate.
What are the risks in using Instagram?
Parents typically worry about the same things online as offline: mean behavior among peers and inappropriate behavior or content that can hurt a child’s reputation or attract the wrong kind of attention. Parents are also concerned that people their kids don’t know can reach out to them directly. Keep reading to learn more about how to manage these risks on Instagram.
Should my teen's profile be private?
For many teens, part of the fun of Instagram is developing a big following — and this is a good thing for parents and their children to talk about. Having a public account on Instagram means anyone can follow you. A private account means that you have to approve anyone you want to follow you. Many parents — and teens themselves — choose to have their teens start using Instagram with a private account. While this doesn’t directly prevent friends posting pictures of your child, it will prevent any unwanted followers.
What’s the best way to help teens stay safe on Instagram?
As with all social media, respecting ourselves and others makes us safer. Your child's posts and comments reflect on their public image. Helping your child learn to be respectful on Instagram helps to foster a positive environment for everyone. Additionally, Instagram offers many tools that can help to keep your child safe. Learn more about them in the next section, “Safety Basics.”
Instagram has a number of tools and resources to ensure that we remain a safe and welcoming community. From advanced account security to comment tools, we have many features that can help keep your teen safe.
Use two-factor authentication to log in to Instagram safely
Two-factor authentication is a security feature that helps safeguard your teen’s account by requiring something they know (their account username and password) and something they have (their mobile phone) every time they log into their Instagram account from an unknown device. Meaning, if someone has your child's password but does not have your their phone, they cannot access your child's account. Here are step-by-step instructions.
Choose who sees posts with a private account
Unless you choose to have a private account, each Instagram account is visible to the entire community. If you’d like to make sure that only approved followers can see your child’s posts, we suggest setting your posts to private. Setting your account to private is simple: Navigate to the “Settings” gear from your profile page, and then toggle “Private Account” to the on position. From there, you will need to approve every follow request moving forward. Once you set your posts to private, anyone who wants to see your child’s posts will have to send your child a follower request, which they can then approve or ignore.
With a private account, you can also remove followers without blocking them.
Block anyone you don’t want to see posts
Your child can also remove followers and block people on Instagram. When they block someone, that person can’t view their photos/videos or search for their Instagram account. The blocked person can still mention your child’s username on Instagram, but your child won’t be notified about it. If your child changes their username after they block them, they won’t be able to mention your child unless they know the new username. People aren’t notified when they’re blocked. Learn more about blocking people.
To block an account, navigate to that account’s profile, open the “…” menu in the upper right corner and tap “Block User.”
Hide Offensive Comments
It’s important for your teen to feel comfortable with the comments on their posts. Comment filters automatically hide offensive comments, manually chosen keywords or default keywords we have identified. Check out how to filter comments here. A few more tips:
- If you see a comment you don’t want on your child’s post, delete it by swiping left and tapping the trash icon.
- If your child wants to disable all comments on a post, tap “Advanced Settings” before you post, and then toggle “Turn Off Commenting” to the on position. Want to turn off commenting on an older post? Change the status of comments on any post, at any time, by tapping the “…” menu after you’ve posted.
Pick a strong password and keep it safe
- Choose a password that is difficult to guess by using a combination of at least six numbers, letters and symbols (like ! and &) and make sure it is unique to Instagram
- Never post or share your password with anyone you don’t trust, including any third-party app. Instagram conducts automated security checks and will prompt you to change your password if it appears compromised. If this happens to you, respond to Instagram’s notification by changing your password right away
- When your child shares a computer or phone with others, remind them to log out of their account and make sure not to check the “Remember Me” box. For added security, they can use a lock code on their phone to ensure no one can access the account if their phone is lost
How do I block or unblock someone from commenting on my photos and videos? Watch video:
To block someone from commenting on your photos and videos:
- Go to your profile by tapping the person icon in the top right of the profile
- Tap “...” menu in the top right
- Tap Comment Controls
- Tap Block Comments From
- Enter the name of the person you want to block, then tap Block next to their name
- To unblock someone from commenting on your photos and videos, tap Unblock next to their name.
How do I Use Comment Controls? Watch video:
Our comment tools help you control both who can comment on your photos and videos — and what kinds of comments people are allowed to make.
To access comment controls:
- Tap "..." menu in the top right of your profile
- Tap Comments
There, you will find all of our comment controls. You will see the automatic filter that hides offensive comments that is on by default. You can also use the manual filter to filter out comments containing words, phrases or emojis you don't want to see in comments on your posts.
Report any abuse, bullying, harassment or impersonation
We want to ensure all content on Instagram is lawful and follows our Community Guidelines. If your child sees something questionable or a post they believe violates our guidelines, then they should report it.
- To report a comment, swipe to the left and tap the arrow
- To report a specific post or an account, tap the “…” menu and then “Report”
- Or, you can also fill out this form online and the Instagram review team will determine if the comment, post or account should be taken down
Lastly, if you believe someone is impersonating you or someone you know on Instagram, fill out this form.
Community Guidelines Explained
- Share only photos and videos that you’ve taken or have the right to share
- Respect other members of the Instagram community
- Don’t spam people or post nudity
- Post photos and videos that are appropriate for a diverse audience
- Foster meaningful and genuine interactions
- Follow the law
- Maintain our supportive environment by not glorifying self-injury
- Be thoughtful when posting newsworthy events
If you see something that you think may violate any of our guidelines, please help us by using our built-in reporting option.
Instagram has a global team that reviews these reports and works as quickly as possible to remove any content that doesn’t meet our guidelines. These teams are based across five locations worldwide in order to give coverage to reports 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Even if you or someone you know doesn’t have an Instagram account, you can still file a report. When you complete the report, try to provide as much information as possible, such as links, usernames and descriptions of the content, so we can find and review it quickly.
What happens if somebody breaches the Community Guidelines?
It is our policy to remove content that violates our community guidelines. We may remove entire posts if either the imagery or associated captions violate our guidelines. We also may disable entire accounts for violations of our Community Guidelines.
We may work with law enforcement, including when we believe that there’s risk of physical harm or threat to public safety.
For more information, visit our full section here or view the full guidelines on our Help Center.
Talking to your teen about using social Media
Instagram is just one of many apps that teens use to extend their “real world” social lives. It’s also a way for them to explore the things they’re interested in and discover new communities. Instagram can help them expand their worlds and support their real-life relationships, allowing them to connect with their friends in the in-between moments, after school and on weekends.
It’s important to talk to your children about privacy, safety, reputation and time management when using social media. We have tools to help them keep their accounts private and control who can see, comment on and interact with the things they post.
Responsible social media use
We’re proud of the fact that people use Instagram to build stronger relationships, discover and connect with communities around shared interests and give and get support when going through difficult times. But we also believe in the importance of living your life offline. That’s why we support the concept of balance when using social media and phones, and understand that sometimes you might need to take a break.
As with all social media, respecting ourselves and others makes us safer. Your child's posts and comments reflect on their public image. Helping your child learn to be respectful on Instagram reduces the risk of hurting someone else -- and their online image. While most teens are smart about this, parents can help by reviewing their child's account periodically to be sure teens aren't posting provocative images or having inappropriate interactions with people they don't know.
Discover the world of Instagram
When Kevin Systrom (@kevin) and Mike Krieger (@mikeyk) first created Instagram, they wanted it to be a welcoming community where people could share their lives. Since then, the community has grown to 800 million, and people have shared stories from every corner of the world. With this growth, we are committed to maintaining what has kept Instagram a positive and safe place for self-expression. As a result, Instagram has become the home for visual storytelling for everyone.
Discover a few of our most inspiring community members who capture and share their moments and message on Instagram.
Amaiya is an amateur boxer who embodies determination and discipline. She is Muslimah and covers her body and hair, which challenges boxing's traditional uniform. She has faced adversity and stereotyping but has not let that stop her. She uses Instagram to inspire others and herself.
Haile is a health activist, CEO, speaker, and vegan foodie who loves bringing nourishing and delicious recipes and discussion about real life moments to her IG community, with the intention of empowering others to fuel their bodies and potential.
Harry Hambly is the artist behind @ketnipz, a popular Instagram cartoon series featuring Bean, a relatable character who struggles with day-to-day ordeals everyone can relate to. His work promotes positive messages and raises awareness of mental health issues and the importance of self-care. Harry hopes Bean reminds people that, no matter what hardship they are going through, they are not alone. Harry has recently branched out into the world of fashion and clothing design, translating the aesthetic and ideas of Ketnipz into interesting everyday wear.
Luis is a socially responsible creative whose art and design emphasizes mental health, gender diversity, positive social impact and empowerment for survivors of abuse. His passions include interaction and digital media design, social justice, and educating through entertainment. He encourages empathy and solidarity through his illustrative and mixed media work and strives to create an inclusive and positive community.
Olivia hosts a consciously active account with topics ranging from politics, diversity, women empowerment, film, to community engagement. She has recently been featured in the new book The Confidence Code for Girls, and is a leader in the #captureconfidence movement.
Tolly is an ethical and sustainable fashion blogger who has been running her slice of the internet since she was just 11-years-old. From learning more about the way her clothes were made, she has transformed her blog and online presence into a space that focuses on raising awareness of issues within the fashion industry, inspiring her followers to make changes no matter how small they may be, while still experimenting with style and championing self-expression along the way.