4 Questions Every Parent Needs to Ask About the New Instagram Stories

Aug 08, 2016

bullying

There has been some big news in the social media world this week… Instagram has added a new feature called Instagram Stories allowing their users (many of our children/teens) a way to post content that disappears after 24 hours. While this is exciting news for many, parents have reason to be concerned. Let's explore what it's all about.

1. How Does Instagram Stories Work?

Instagram stories allows you to take a picture (or 20 second video) and post it for friends to see. Here's my first Instagram "story".

Text or drawings can easily be added (example my purple heart).

After user takes a picture or video, you can choose to post it or delete it. Once posted all your friends will see your profile bubble pop up in the top of their feed to let them know you've created an Instagram story. You can see who's viewed your image by clicking on the bottom of your image.

2. How Instagram Stories Is Similar to Snapchat?

insta Although this feature has only been released this week, it is being compared in the press to Snapchat because of the similarity in the ability to post "disappearing videos". Since Snapchat's inception in 2014, many children/teens have found themselves in troubling situations because they posted inappropriate images assuming that these images would just "disappear" forever. Parents and teens quickly realized that with one screenshot snap, these images could be saved on viewer's phones and in fact live forever.

3. Should You Allow Your Children to Use Instagram Stories?

insta Parenting in the digital age requires us to make many of these difficult decisions. While we think that every parent needs to make their own decision about what's best for their child, we recommend understanding and using the platform yourself, educating your kids about the dangers (videos can in fact live forever), and checking the privacy settings (see picture below for the privacy options for Instagram). For parents who have concern about Snapchat due to how images could potentially affect reputations, safety, not to mention, their digital footprint you should also be cautious about Instagram Stories.

4. Why Your Kids May Like Instagram Stories?

insta When users post photos or videos they aren't getting feedback (such as likes or comments) which could reduce cyberbullying and the need for social approval. Not having feedback can be positive for our kids growing up in today's digital age where they are looking for approval/reactions in everything they do. The Stories feature may also be compelling because it "seems" more private and it is less likely to get them in trouble (less shelf time). Another feature many young people may like is that users can select who views their posts-so if you're following your child, you may not see all they posting.

Many teens are getting caught up in this photo/video sharing craze. It's important that parents are aware of the facts and risks involved in all apps that your children download.