Instagram safety: a how to guide for parents

This post marks the first in our series of ‘How to’ infographic guides. We take a look at the popular online photo and video-sharing platform Instagram. You can also visit Instragram’s parent portal for more advice on how to help your child make utilise the safety features available on the app.

Released back in 2010, the app is free to download on iOS & Android devices and has amassed over 300 million active monthly users to date.  For keen ‘instagramers’ the app provides a channel to share their photography skills and daily life events.

Content posted can be amplified through the use of hashtags meaning masses can be reached in a matter of minutes.

Mummy blogger Adele Jennings of speaks on all things Instagram and give her personal take on what parents should know

There are various steps you can take to make sure your child’s profile and experience are both as safe as possible starting with the option of a Public or Private Profile:

Private Profile

This ensures only followers that your child knows and approves personally can see their posts.

Public Profile

All posts and activity can be seen by everyone who uses the app and web version of Instagram.

By default all profiles are Public, a Private Profile can be activated by selecting the gear icon in the top right of the profile view followed by Private Profile.

The sharing and posting of content

There are 3 options to consider when posting content and who with:


The most relaxed profile setting. All photos and videos are searchable and can be viewed and commented on by all users.


Videos and photos are only seen by ‘approved followers’. All followers must be approved by your child.


Instagram has an option to send content directly to up to 15 people. Messages are deleted after 2 weeks if they remain ignored.

Location tagging

Tagging a location when posting will show where the photo or video was captured including private vicinities. Explaining to your child the consequences of this is advisable.

Managing the content in your child’s feed

For more information about what, as a user, you can and cannot post click here. To manage the content that your child see’s on their feed you can:

Unfollow a user

If your child no longer wants to see a particular user’s content or doesn’t like what they see, simply unfollow that person. This can be executed directly from their profile page.

Block a user and/or report their content as inappropriate

A user can be blocked, or their content reported as inappropriate, by tapping the ellipsis in top right-hand corner of their profile. Select ‘Block User’ and/or ‘Report Inappropriate Content’.

You can use the keyword moderation tool to restrict any comments that contain a list of words you consider offensive or inappropriate.

Users can choose their own list or use a default words provided on the app.

Users with a private account can remove any followers and the person will not be notified.

The platform has made it simpler to remove followers without blocking them. Simply select the follower(s) you wish to remove and press remove and they will not be notified but they will no longer see your posts.

Simply select the post you wish to remove the commenting function from, tap on the three dots on the right-hand corner and choose ‘Turn off commenting’. If you’d like to turn this off before posting, click on advanced settings before posting and swipe to ‘Turn off commenting’.

What is Instagram story and how does it work?

Your Instagram Story can be either a photo or video you upload to your profile that’s visible on the app for 24 hours before it disappears.

Who can comment on your Instagram story?

when you post a Story, one of your followers can send you a message while viewing your Story, but they won’t be able to leave a public comment on it for others to see. You can also select who is allowed to send you a message in response to your Story if you want a bit more privacy.

How do you know who’s looked at your Instagram story?

Instagram also keeps a log of your viewers so you can see which Instagram users have viewed your Story. This viewers list can only be seen by you and not the rest of your Instagram followers.

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