Instagram New Features – What Parent’s Need to Know: Keeping Children Safe Online

AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Photo courtesy of: DunandEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images (

AFP PHOTO/Emmanuel Photo courtesy of: DunandEMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images (

Last week Instagram unveiled a new feature that allows users to send a photo or video to a single person or up to 15 people, and to have real-time text conversations.  Until the new feature release, photos could only be shared publicly, allowing them to be seen by anyone using the service….Meaning Parents!

“Sometimes you want to be able to share, not with everyone, but just with a specific group,” said Kevin Systrom, Instagram co-founder. “Instagram Direct is a simple way to send photos and videos to your friends.”

Facebook Inc., the world’s No. 1 social media network, bought Instagram for $1 billion in 2012.  Facebook has experienced a decline in usage by younger teenagers in the United States, however this new feature allows them to compete with mobile messaging services including WhatsApp and Snapchat.

Parents:  This new feature changes how your child can share  photos and the overall communication capabilities.  Below are a few tips to ensure your child’s safety on the Internet:

1.  Discuss the new features with your child, set expectations, and discuss consequences.

2.  Speak with your children about who they are sharing photos with and what they should do if someone reaches out to them via Instagram’s new features.

3.  Talk about the “texting” feature and re-discuss your rules around e-communication.

4.  Audit your child’s friends list to ensure they are sharing with people they know and trust.

5.  Speak with your child about using Social Media responsibility and posting appropriate photos.

6.  Communicate.Communicate. Communicate.  There is not one piece of “monitoring software,” that will ever take place of good of fashioned communication.  Listen to your child, ask questions, and finally set the ground rules.

Marlin Page is a Globetrotting Speaker,  Founder of Sisters Code, Technology Strategist- empowering women and girls in STEM and Life, and Excuse Annihilator.  As Chief Technology Mommy, Marlin shares online safety news to keep parents informed of what’s happening in the “online” world. Marlin also currently serves as a speaker for Microsoft’s Global DigiGirlz Program,  has been invited to lead a technology discussion at SXSW’s Interactive Festival, and serves as a speaker/panelist for a number of organizations.








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