Even though social media has a great appeal, especially to the teenagers, it has its own share of pitfalls. Amongst the many famous social media platforms, Instagram continues to reign over most others, including Facebook. However, its popularity doesn’t necessarily indicate its safety and there are many untoward incidents unfolding over Instagram, including cyber-bullying, hate messages, profanities, and exchanging inappropriate pictures. Clearly, the picture is not as rosy as the Instagram filters would like you to believe. The photos that you post on the website are visible to all your followers and therefore, it is essential to practice and follow some safety measures to avoid any mishaps.
The following is the ultimate teen safety guide for Instagram:
The Supremacy of Privacy
Every social media offers an array of privacy settings that you can use to bolster your privacy. However, very few users are aware about these features. Once you have made proper use of your privacy settings, you can control who follows you and thereby sees the content that you post. Further, the user wishing to follow you will be sending you a follow request and you can approve or ignore this request. This is a lot safer than the public accounts that allow anybody to view your photos.
But First… Let Me Take a Selfie!
Sure, we would love to use a profile photo of our face and naturally, you would want the world to know who you are. However, this belief of being immune to online harassment or stalking can come at a hefty price. Anybody can Google your name and eventually extract more information about you. This includes your age, the school that you attend, the location where you live, details about your parents, and so on! As tempting as it may be, avoid using a photo of yourself as your display picture.
Unpin Location Pins
Normally, photographs taken over a smartphone contain a host of other data associated to the picture. This includes the exact GPS coordinates of where the photo was taken! Instagram allows you to share the location of where this photograph was taken. If you open the location of a geotagged photo on Instagram, you can see a pin pointing to the exact location where the picture was taken! Thus, turn off the location settings on your Instagram to avoid being stalked.
Follow For Follow
While we have already outlined the dangers of allowing random strangers to follow you on Instagram, it is also important not follow excessively either. Once you go on a following spree, chances are that you will be more noticed, which is basically the point of social media websites, but can also be harmful. And with the internet, you would think you are talking to a 16 year-old girl who turns out to be a 40 something man! So practice prudence while following Instagram accounts. Furthermore, when you are following celebrity accounts, ensure that you are following verified, genuine accounts rather than some fake page put up by some predator.
The verdict has already been out: The internet is not necessarily a safe space. Even if you are a teenager who is well capable of taking care of yourself, it may happen that you may mess up somewhere or the other.
And that’s okay.
However, if you are being targeted by bullies or getting inappropriate messages (or pictures) from strange accounts, do not hesitate to seek help. While blocking and reporting the accounts is a good start, also make sure that you involve your parents or some similar authority. Feel no shame, guilt, or fear in approaching an adult who can deal with the issue immediately.
Stay safe to have a good time!
Aida Martin is a self-professed security expert; She has been making the people aware of the security threats. Her passion is to write about Cyber security, cryptography, malware, social engineering, internet and new media. She writes for Norton security products at www.norton.com/setup.