Yesterday the Washington Post’s On Parenting Blog wrote an article titled “Instagram: What parents need to know.” The article discusses whether Instagram, a social camera and photo editing app for iPhone and Android phones, is safe for use by youth. The article was conspicuously written shortly after Facebook announced that it would buy the little app company for $1 billion (No, that’s not a typo. “B” as in Billion). The article references a helpful article written by YourSphere media about that topic.
The takeaway is that Instagram is a social photo app network. Anything that takes a photo and uploads it should be treated with caution — as the article rightly points out. The article also notes the possibility that the app can be used for bullying. All true. But, I think it’s worth noting that most Internet and online technologies pose that same possibility and that the overwhelming percentage of teens and tweens manage to deal pretty well with those pitfalls. Beyond that there seems to be nothing inherently unsafe about Instagram. The only issue we could see with the article was that during a recent Android installation of Instagram there seemed to be no age requirement and statement of age as the article suggests. Perhaps it’s only in iPhone OS.
Of course, sexting and bullying are real problems that parents must be mindful of. Our friends at ConnectSafely.org have writting some great pieces on the pitfalls of bullying and how to deal with sexting.