Many of the tools parents use to protect their children depend on being notified what apps they have and are using most often. When it comes to social media, being able to monitor posts and direct messages is critical. Sometimes, finding something you didn’t want to see will result in forcing your child to uninstall the app from their device. Until recently, Instagram has been a social media platform that only allows users to post from within the app. Therefore, uninstalling was a good solution for parents who wanted to give their kids some sort of time out. Instagram has just updated their mobile site and it’s going to ruin everything.
Instagram’s mobile browser update allows users to post photos and use the explore feature without having the app installed. This means that the most major features of the app are available. You still aren’t able to send direct messages through the mobile site, which is a good thing, but posting, viewing posts and accounts, and finding new accounts through search and explore are now accessible. This update is meant to give access to Instagram in countries and areas who have limited access to app stores or network services. Being able to use Instagram without an app means that more and more people across the country and the world will have an opportunity to share pictures of their lunch or coffee.
What Parents Should Know
There is a simple way to monitor what your kids are doing on Instagram, whether it’s on the app or in the browser. I recommend installing Instagram on your own device and adding their account. Even if you have an account of your own, you can add another one and see everything they have been doing. Using the mobile browser will definitely affect your ability to “ground” your kid from social media but there are ways to avoid that to. Here are a couple of options.
- Remove access to browsers within the parental controls or restrictions of their device or your parental control apps.
- Put instagram.com on the blacklist in your filters or in the “red flag list” on your accountability software.
- Take the entire device from your child until the grounding is over. Make them use the family computer for any online activities they must do. This will really give an extra impact to the punish.
Instagram isn’t inherently bad, of course. Just like any site or app with user generated content you’re going to find inappropriate content. These things can’t usually be filtered so monitoring what they are doing is critical. The most common issue is time spent on social media. Teens are spending upwards of six hours a day online and many of those hours are on some form of social media. If time is your concern, then a simple uninstall of the app won’t cut it anymore. You have to lock down some of the browser options as well. Otherwise, you’re only keeping them from a couple of the features of Instagram, not the entire platform.