A Parents Guide to Instagram: Cue, happy teen?

A Parents Guide to Instagram has just been launched by Instagram and ReachOut, Australia’s leading online mental health and wellbeing service for young people and their parents.

And not a moment too soon.

For the sake of brevity, we’ll just call a spade a spade. Social media can be destructive to a teen’s self-esteem. From the number of ‘Likes’ and ‘Friends’ one has, to negative comments, being ‘Unfriended’ or ‘Blocked’ … even a shitty emoji left behind can ruin a day.    

teenage girl using social media app
Social media’s potential for causing distress, even if it’s unintended, is serious. Imagine, for one moment, how your daughter or son would feel seeing a friend’s post of a group of mates hanging out together, but your child wasn’t invited. The seemingly innocuous can chip away at one’s confidence, sense of self, and have a negative ripple effect on friendships, family, life …  

That’s the ‘evil’ side of social media. Of course, social media can be used for greatness, too…

Teens can connect with their friends, build, nurture and expand social networks. They can meet like-minded ‘tribes’, especially for those who consider themselves ‘different’ or a minority group. They can use social media to express their stories, talents, personality, or passions – from climate change or pink hair to Fortnite skins and footy highlights. Or share special moments with their family and friends, connect regularly with loved-ones interstate or overseas …

Facebook says…

Director of Policy for Facebook Australia, Mia Garlick said of the Guide’s launch: “We feel a responsibility to keep everyone in our community safe, especially young people who may turn to their parents for help in using Instagram. We’ve worked with ReachOut to create a guide that provides parents with more information in order to better understand Instagram and how to talk to their children about it. The Parents Guide to Instagram provides information on how young people use Instagram, the platform’s safety tools, and some easy ways to open up communication with children about Instagram.”

What is in the Parents Guide to Instagram? Tips and tools to:

  • protect young people from bullying
  • manage the amount of time they spend online
  • control their privacy.
  • filter out comments.
  • encourage positive use of social media

There’s also practical information around how Instagram works.

CEO of ReachOut Australia, Ashley de Silva said: “The new Guide we’ve developed with Instagram provides parents with simple strategies to support clear and open conversations with young people about using social media in safe ways. For many parents, social media can be challenging because it’s not something they grew up with, and platforms and safety features are constantly changing. Each year ReachOut Parents provide hundreds of thousands of parents with information, tips and support so that they can help their teenager across a whole range of issues, including the challenges of using social media safely.”

The Parents Guide to Instagram was developed in partnership with Instagram and ReachOut and is available here.

Have a story or tip to share about your child and social media? Start the conversation below…

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