Today is the day to lock down your child’s Instagram account 1

If you have a child using Instagram to communicate with friends, now is the time to make sure your child’s account as well as their friends’ accounts are all private unless you want photos of your child sold to advertisers without your permission or payment. From Jenna Wortham and Nick Bilton’s article in The New York Times today the new terms of service changes with Instagram are quite significant.

“Athough Instagram says people must be at least 13 years old to sign up for the service, the new terms note that if a teenager signs up, they are agreeing that a parent or guardian is aware that their image, username and photos can also be used in ads.”

So, what is a parent to do? First, if you want total privacy, don’t allow your child to have an Instagram account or delete the one they already have. But if you’re wanting something more “middle of the road”, consider locking things down on your child’s account. Here’s how to do it:

Make your child’s photos private:

1.  Select the far right bottom button on the app. It’s shaped like a rectangle with a square and three lines.This is your child’s profile page.

2. Select the gear button in the upper right corner of the profile page.This opens the options page.

3. Toggle the on switch to make photos private at the very bottom of the options page.

Turn off location services (GPS) for your child’s photos (iOS only):

1. Select the settings app on the device.

2. Select the privacy button.

3. Select the location services button.

4. Turn off location services for photos or any other camera element on your device.

This will ensure that none of you child’s photos are geographically available. This means that users wont’ be able to see where your child’s photos are taken in a map such as your house, school, etc.

Check your child’s friends for privacy:

There is no easy way in the app to do this. The best thing to do is go one by one through the list of your child’s friends and with a separate testing Instagram account, try to follow all the kids. Word of warning: if your child has more than 75 followers, I’d consider asking your child if he or she actually knows any of these people. Try to limit your child’s followers and those he or she is following as well. For example if old John takes a photo of Jane and his account isn’t private, she may end up in an ad online without the consent of Jane’s parents.

Additionally, it’s the village that raises the child. If you see anything unacceptable when you monitor your child’s account or items posted by your child’s friends, do something and talk to the parents of your child’s friends. They may not be aware of what their child is up to or how to limit what their child can do on Instagram.



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