When I entered into youth ministry social media wasn’t a big deal. Then myspace came in and changed everything. Facebook took over the mantle as the best platform, and twitter has a unique viral sort of following. With the rise of the smartphone and the increasing quality of the cameras attached to them, it was only a matter of time until Instagram (a photo sharing app) entered the scene. Instagram is insanely popular with teenagers. If your kid isn’t on Instagram, most of their friends still are, so it matters. As with all social media there are some dangerous ways that it can be used if privacy isn’t kept tight.
Jonathan McKee is a youth culture expert and he has recently posted an article about Keeping Instagram Safe. In this article he writes:
Instagram can be a fun and innocent app, but like all social media, it requires responsibility by the user. As Instagram’s own faq page states:
“All photos are public by default which means they are visible to anyone using Instagram or on the instagram.com website. If you choose to make your account private, then only people who follow you on Instagram will be able to see your photos.”
This might not sound like a big deal, and most of the time, it’s not. But I’ve witnessed the horror stories when parents didn’t talk with their kids about social media responsibility.
McKee goes on to list some suggestions for how to use Instagram safely. I encourage you to check out the rest of his blog post here. Then have a conversation with your kid about how they use Instagram.