Instagram is fun, funny, and often wildly addictive, and the people behind the popular app know that. But from fan-favorite celebrities posting questionable things to private conversations gone terribly wrong, Instagram is not without its perils. The people who continue to develop the app know that, too, and are taking new steps to ensure that their platform is safer than ever. Only time will tell how these policy shifts will reshape the Instagram experience, but let’s hope that whatever comes of it will be positive.
Because younger Instagrammers can have a very different relationship with the app than adults often do, Instagram is implementing important new policies that it hopes will make Instagram safer for teenage users. A brand-new Parents Guide has also become available in conjunction with these policies so that parents can clue themselves into their kids’ Instagram habits. We also published our own handy guide for parents last year. If you are a parent, you should definitely check that out. It will help keep your kids safe on the app and will give you greater control over their Instagramming.
In terms of what the new policies actually entail, one of the biggest changes Instagram is putting in place is its new restriction on adults attempting to DM teens who do not follow them. This is huge, and could totally help curb the creepiness many younger Instagrammers so frequently experience. Hopefully, it does just that.
Users must be at least 13 to download Instagram, and proof of age has been a requirement for a while now. Now, as an added precaution, Instagram is actively urging teens who download the app for the first time to make their accounts private upon setup.
It seems that Instagram has gone to great lengths to ensure that everyone feels safe and included on its platform, and that your age doesn’t negatively affect the quality of your experience. The app has been slightly better about this than, say, Twitter or Facebook (which actually owns Instagram), but there were still some noticeable gaps in its policies that allowed unsavory characters to contact youngsters they had no business contacting. Hopefully, with these new restrictions, creepy DMs are mostly a thing of the past. People will of course find ways around this, and that’s disappointing. If creepers put half as much effort into doing good as they did into tormenting and harassing teenagers, they would probably have solved world hunger or something by now.
It is encouraging to see social media apps such as Instagram taking steps to make its experience more appealing for everyone. Hopefully, these new policies go a long way in helping teenagers feel safer when using the app. Tons of people use it, and as such it can be difficult—sometimes even impossible–to identify who is messaging you. Add the fact that many people create fake accounts and you’ve got a uniquely challenging problem.
Fortunately, it looks like Instagram is very aware of this issue and is doing all it can to help resolve it.