What seems like a few innocent lines is actually one of the most underestimated threats to your child’s online safety. The humble ‘Instagram Bio’ is a major threat to privacy and cybersafety, as it remains public regardless of your privacy settings. Whether your account is private or public some elements of your child’s Instagram page remain available to ALL users, this includes
- Profile picture
- Number of followers and number of people following (names of people your child follows or is followed by are NOT accessible to other users if their profile is set to private.)
Australian police are making an increasing number of arrests of predators who have been caught grooming or attempting to groom children on social media services, including Instagram. It is important to remain diligent in supervision and not to underestimate the risks children can be exposed to on social media.
If your child’s Instagram account is set to private, here is how it would look to an online predator:
If your child’s Instagram account is set to public, here is how it would look to an online predator:
Predators would simply need to click followers or following to gain access to a list of every user that follows or is followed by your child. Even if your child’s account is set to PRIVATE, their page can still be easily found if any of their friends have PUBLIC profiles.
Obviously the best way to protect your child’s safety is to not allow them to create an Instagram account, however, if you wish to allow your child to create an Instagram account, there are ways to reduce the risks. Generally, young people like to include some information about themselves in their bio, and whilst it might initially seem harmless, especially to a child, it does not take long for an online predator to piece together little snippets of information to create a bigger picture. Some examples of information commonly placed in the bio’s of young people include:
- Full name
- Birth date/ year
- Names of friends
- Post codes or suburbs
- Sporting clubs or dance groups etc
- Links to other social media accounts such as Kik, Snapchat and Skype
REMEMBER! Online predators are becoming increasingly technologically advanced, and innocent information unwittingly placed in an Instagram bio can lead to identification. Here is in example of how easily information about your child can fall into the WRONG hands!