Instagram safety and privacy settings

Controls & Settings guide

Instagram features a number of functions to help your child manage who can see their content and how they interact with others. They can also use the reporting function to flag content that breaks community guidelines and upsets them.

What do I need?

A Instagram account (username and password) and the app

Restrictions you can apply

icon Chatting
icon Cyberbullying
icon Inappropriate content
icon Privacy and identity theft
icon Social networking

Step by Step instructions


Make an account private

Step 1 – From your account, tap .

Step 2 – Tap “Settings” then “Privacy” and then “Account privacy” then tap until the toggle turns blue.


Unfollow someone

Step 1 – Go to your profile and tap “Followers” at the top of the screen. Tap “Remove” next to the follower(s) you wish to unfollow.
Step 2 – Tap “Remove” again.

You can also unfollow an account by going directly to their profile and tapping “Following”. They will not be notified but they will no longer see your posts.


Manage comments

You can allow or block comments from people you follow and your followers, people you follow, or your followers.

If you’d like to allow comments  before posting:

Step 1 – Go to your profile and tap then tap “Settings”.
Step 2
– Tap “Privacy”  then “Comments”.
Step 3 – Next to Allow comments from, tap the arrow and choose your option.

To block comments before posting:

Step 1 – Next to Block Comments from, tap “People”.
Step 2 – Enter the name of the person you want to block, then tap “Block” next to their name.
Step 3 – To unblock someone from commenting on your photos and videos, tap “Unblock” next to their name and then tap “Unblock” again to confirm.


Filter comments

Step 1 – Go to your profile and tap then tap “Settings”.
Step 2 – Tap “Privacy” then “Comments”.
Step 3 – Next to Block Comments from, tap “People”. Next to Hide offensive comments, tap toggle until it turns blue.

You can also manually filter specific words or phrases from your posts or stories:

Next to Manual filter, tap the toggle the feature on. Then enter the words you want to filter.


Mute someone

If you don’t want to see someone’s posts in your feed, you can mute them:

Step 1 – Go to their profile by tapping the search icon at the bottom or find them by typing their name into the search

Step 2 – Tap “Following” below their profile info and tap “Mute”

Swipe to toggle the feature off – next to Posts and/or Stories.
To unmute them, tap to toggle the feature on, next to Posts.

You can also mute them from feed:

Tap (iPhone) or  (Android) next to their post. Select “Mute” then “Mute Posts”.

Instagram won’t let them know you muted them. Muting someone’s posts is different from unfollowing them and from muting their stories.


Close friends settings 
Remember that—even if you have a private account—there are ways to post that are even more selective.

You can use the “Close Friends” setting on stories so that only certain people see them. People who are unable to see the story won’t know that they are missing something.

To create your close friends list using the Instagram app:

Step 1 – Tap  in the bottom right then tap in the top right corner.
Step 2 – Tap “Close Friends”, then tap “Suggestions” at the top.
Step 3 – Tap “Add” next to the people you want to add to your close friends list.

You can also tap “Search” to search for a friend – tap “Done” when you’ve finished adding people to your list.


Restrict an account
Restrict is a new way to protect your account from unwanted interactions. If someone is being aggressive or negative in your comment section, you can put them on a “Restricted” list.

To restrict a user:

Step 1 – Go to the Privacy tab in “Settings” , or directly on the profile of the account you intend to restrict.
Step 2 – Tap “Restricted accounts” then search for a user then tap “Restrict”.

An easier way is simply going directly to the user’s account, tapping the three dots in the top right corner, and tapping Restrict.




Report posts or profiles

To report a user’s profile:

Step 1 – Tap on the top right corner of the user’s profile.

Step 2 – Tap “Report”. Select from the appropriate option and follow the instructions.

To report a user’s post:

Step 1 – Tap on the top right corner of the user’s post.

Step 2 – Tap “Report”. Select from the appropriate option and follow the instructions.

Alternatively, you can swipe left on the comment and tap the report button.

Reporting is totally anonymous. You can also use this Instagram form to make a report about bullying or harassment.

When you report on Instagram, it will be reviewed by moderators and they will take action if it breaks community guidelines.

If someone is in immediate danger contact the police or other local authorities.


Hide likes

You choose whether you want to see someone’s like counts and/or you can choose to hide your own.

Step 1 – Tap  in the bottom right then tap in the top right corner.

Step 2 – Tap “Settings”,“Notifications” then “Posts, Stories and Comments”.

Step 3 – Choose to run of likes, from people you follow or from everyone.


Ensure you have the latest Instagram version to see this option.


New and Upcoming Features

June 2022:

+ Announced in the US, Instagram is testing new age-verification methods beyond a physical ID. The two new methods include through taking a selfie where the technology identifies the user’s age or through social vouching. Social vouching is where users give permission for three people they are connected with to confirm their age. Steps are taken to ensure the accounts are legitimate sources. ID verification remains in place. While these options are only available in the US at the moment, Instagram hopes to roll it out worldwide with insight from how it is used in the US. Learn more here.

+ Family Centre, announced in March 2022, will now be available in the UK and other countries outside of America.

+ Parental supervision tools are being rolled out for Quest headsets. These include controls to manage purchases, block inappropriate content, keep on top of screen time and more. See full details here.

+ Sensitive content controls, released last year, can now allow users to regulate how much sensitive content may come across their feed. The three options are ‘more’, ‘standard’ and ‘less’ with the ‘more’ option unavailable to those underage.

March 2022

+ Family Centre is launched in America. It allows parents to connect to teens’ accounts and monitor who they are interacting with while setting time limits for them. Teens also have the option to share with their parent when they report a user or their content.

+ Along with the Family Centre, Instagram has also released the Education hub. The hub has expert advice and articles to help families make the most of their time spent using the platforms. You can expect its release in the UK in the next coming months.

December 2021

+Take a Break‘ was launched in various countries, including the UK. It reminds teens to take a break after they have been scrolling for a certain amount of time.