With technologies ingrained in our everyday lives, it’s hard to tell whether the Internet, particularly Social Media addiction, is a real problem or is just an inevitable part of modern society’s functioning.
Instagram is not just a platform for sharing moments. A saying among millennials goes, “If it’s not on Instagram, it never happened.” The pressure to post a photo is so excessive that the world behind the familiar icon becomes an enslaving Universe, where fame is the only ambition.
Why is Instagram so dangerous? What Parents Need to Know About It?
Instagram has already been blamed for a myriad of mental and physical health problems, like body image issues, cyberbullying, depression, weight gain, immunity problems, sleep disturbance, etc.
So, what exactly is this platform?
Instagram is a photo and video-sharing social networking app with over 1 billion monthly active users. It’s about capturing and editing your best photographs and then posting them to receive a rush of miniature red hearts or likes — things that are most sought after in this virtual Universe. See, on Instagram, the number of likes is a barometer of your popularity and self-worth.
The rest of the time spent on the app boils down to feed scrolling, watching short stories posted by users that disappear in 24 hours, or chatting in private (or direct) messages.
The main concern for parents regarding Instagram usage is, of course, its high level of addictiveness. Time spent on Insta takes precedence over time with friends, family, and healthy activities. What’s virtual becomes real, and what’s real becomes futile.
For teens, Instagram is, first of all, a place of emotional connection. It’s a wholly visual world where you transmit your feelings through pictures. When used moderately, Instagram generally has a positive effect on social life and can be a nice tool for keeping up with friends and family.
But, there is a dark side, hands down. You probably have hints about what we’re talking about.
Posting & browsing feed becomes an itch
“If you don’t post the photo, what’s the point of taking it?” — a philosophy that eventually takes the lead over the life of heavy Instagram users. “Life is no more interesting with its plain colors, emotions, and events unless I capture a picture and post it so others can feel my emotion, see what I’m up to.”
Reversely, there is a fear of missing out on the moment if you run out of your evening routine of scrolling through the news feed, peeping into other’s lives. Here they go — Kylie Jenner’s bronzed limbs, a friend’s cuttie Yorkshire terrier playing in the grass, a new TV show, a couple of commercials. Now you feel good, “completed,” “fulfilled,” and ready to sleep. What are you going to talk about with your friends, who are aware of the latest trends? How on Earth are you going to pick up clothes.
Physical & psychological issues in the long-run
An experiment conducted by Lauren Clark has proved that Instagram addiction can have a profound effect on the body, in particular, on the level of cortisol (the stress hormone). It all happens because each time you scamper up to check who liked your photos, your heart skips a bit, and your palms get wet, similar to how our bodies respond when we’re in danger. You may not feel this, but the research shows this is what happens to heavy Instagram users.
When cortisol spikes occur too often, it can derail the body’s other essential functions. Consistently high cortisol level leads to different physical & psychological disorders, like weight gain, muscle weakness, mood swings, and depression.
Instagram is particularly dangerous for teens who already suffer from anxiety or depression. Their lack of emotional support means they turn to fill this need through likes/comments and other forms of virtual approval, which only worsens the situation instead of threatening the disease.
It makes teens feel less happy in their own skin
Instagram makes people compare their appearances to others and often judge themselves to be worse off.
When you’re looking at models having shoots, bikini snaps of ideal bodies, or portraits with skin so clean & glowing, you start feeling concerned about your appearance. The thing is, most teens tie their look and identity to their Instagram profiles, where almost all pictures are edited and varnished. The more you identify yourself with your Instagram personality, the more you compare your “image” to others.
As a result, teens strive to achieve an ideal image, which is very easy-to-do with a broad range of filters that Instagram supplies you with. Teens don’t even realize that those “versions” of Instagram celebrities they see on the news feed are not even reflecting the real picture. They’re no more than a fairy tale, made up of filters and photoshop
But it’s hard to realize when you’re that consumed!
Altering reality has its consequences. All pictures taken on your phone’s native app start feeling shitty (as life without filters), BUT with a magical touch of filters, they turn into decent & sharable in a blink of an eye.
Many additional apps allow you to change your appearance in any way: make your lips look bigger, widen your eyes, smaller nose, clean skin, etc. Imagine how time-consuming the whole procedure is: to spend several hours making yourself look like another person, then post your photo and wait for likes rushing over. It can take up a day!
The final stage of altering reality is eating disorders, low self-esteem, and other problems related to mental health.
If you want to cherish your child’s positive body image, maybe, there is a point in reviewing their attitude (or access) to Social Media. All in all, with a bit of persistence & strong desire, you can spark their interest in real-life things: like traveling, reading, or spending enough hours in the fresh air.
It takes only a few clicks to find porn
Thirty seconds — that’s an approximate amount of time needed to find adult content on Instagram.
Of course, the platform takes its measures to remove inappropriate flagged content, but with millions of photos loading by users every day, it’s pretty hard to track all of them.
Besides adult content (usually supplemented by links to the home website with more hot videos available), there are also other types of age-inappropriate content, like violence, unhealthy behavior, drug abuse, etc.
How can I keep my child safe on Instagram?
So, any parent’s fair question is: are there any methods to protect your children and keep them safe on Instagram?
The first thing that you can do is, indeed, sit & talk to your child. Explain to them the inevitable consequences for heavy Instagram users, like depression, anxiety, or eating disorders. Stress on the harmful effect of Social Media on self-esteem, but don’t impose the need to cut Instagram off their lives.
If nothing works, Instagram Parental Controls are what you need. They allow you to install the software on your child’s phone (or, in some cases, do it remotely) and track all activities to detect inappropriate content or actions. Your child’s behavior is changing lately for no valid reason? Instagram Parental Controls can help you break the fog around their suspicious behaviors.
How can you put parental controls on Instagram?
Instagram parental controls are specifically designed apps installed on the phone to monitor the phone’s Instagram activities. They differ in their functions, but the basic set of features of such software boils down to capturing and saving direct messages.
Any parental control app should be either installed on the phone physically or requires a child’s phone iCloud ID and password to get access to the data stored in one’s iCloud. Parental Controls for Instagram is one of today’s most efficient tools for monitoring your child’s online activities.
What is the “restrict” mode on Instagram?
“Restrict mode” is a feature similar to “hide comment” on Facebook, which gives you the right to get rid of unwanted comments or stop receiving direct messages from particular users. To restrict someone, you just tap the person’s name either in chat or in comments and tap “Restrict” at the bottom.
How can I monitor my child’s Instagram?
You can opt for a powerful parental control tool that will give you full access to your child’s Instagram account. The best thing about this app is that you can instantly monitor every activity on Instagram from your user account, accessible from any browser. Instagram parental controls are tools that are specifically designed for parents who are concerned about their child’s excessive Instagram usage.
When you restrict someone on Instagram, can they see your posts?
Once restricted, a person will see your posts and comment on them; only the comments will be visible just to that person. They can go on thinking they’re reaching you, but no one except restricted users will be able to see their comments.
Can I see my child’s Instagram messages?
Yes, you can view the content of your child’s direct messages on Instagram if you can access their profiles. uMobix provides you with the ability to access your child’s account from your cell phone/laptop as your own (given that your child owns an iPhone). You can get in there and navigate as if you entered your own Instagram. For Android users, there is an option to monitor your child’s DM (direct messages) and other Instagram activities from your user account in real-time.
All you have to do is create your account, decide which subscription plan suits you best, make a payment, provide an iCloud ID and password of your child’s iPhone. Install our application on your child’s Android device and adjusting settings as guided in instructions.
How can I access my child’s Instagram account?
Create your account. Choose iPhone/Android, select the subscription plan that will work for you. Make a payment. After the payment is processed, you receive the email with further instructions. When you finish the installation process, you will be able to log in to your user account from any browser and start tracking your child’s Instagram.
How can I find out if my child has a secret Instagram account?
The only way is to get access to your child’s phone and see what’s going on there. If your kid owns an Android, you can use uMobix to keep track of all phone activities (that will be presented to you via screenshots), and thus, define if there is any secret Instagram account or any other secrets.
How do I check my kid’s followers on Instagram?
Open your child’s profile and tap “Followers.” The list of all your kid’s followers will appear. You can also type in the name or username of the person you’re checking up on into the search bar to see if it comes up if you’re looking for someone in particular.
How do I report pornographic or abusive content on Instagram?
Tap the three-dotted symbol located at the right top of the post, select why you’re reporting, provide additional details, and tap “confirm.” Here is the complete instruction.