This is a BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front) post designed to show you, dear parent of a newly minted tween #passthecoffee, exactly what IS and is NOT private on Instagram.
Consider this your Instagram privacy settings cheat sheet.
You're welcome. :)
Ready to roll up your sleeves and dig in? We start right below this lovely pin!
Psst! PIN THIS!
How Do I Know What Is Public And Private On Instagram?
The short answer is:
It's All In The Settings
There are two Settings spaces that you want to know how to maneuver well.
First: Instagram Settings
To get to your child's account settings, go to their profile (looks like a person icon) and tap "..." in the top right.
Second: Phone Settings
This is where Location settings are controlled.
To turn location services on or off:
- Leave the Instagram app and go to your child's iPhone's Settings
- Tap Privacy > Location Services
- Scroll down and tap Instagram
- Select Never or While Using the App to choose location access
For right now, Instagram's default setting for location is off, but your child can turn location on whenever they post a photo. They'll choose whether or not to allow Instagram access to their location.
So make sure to check this setting regularly, like after updates, for example!
How To Use The Rest Of This Article
So now that we have that under your belt, the rest of this article is set up Q&A style.
I would skim through it right now so that you know what information can be found below — which can pretty much be distilled down to who can see what, where, why, and how to change it if you want to.
Once you get the lay of this Instagram land, you can refer to it as needed.
I made a copy for you of aaaaallllll the Q's and their A's — you can get it (for free!) by clicking here or on the button below:
Now, let's dig into all of the Insta-details!
Default Settings: What You Need To Know
By default, anyone can view your child's profile and posts on Instagram.
If your child's posts are set to private (how-to below) only their approved followers will see them in the Photos tab of Search & Explore or on hashtag or location pages.
But anyone can see their profile page including their name, bio lines, and link.
Tip: Be sure to check these three details (name, bio lines, link). It's super easy and common to share personal information as well as an outgoing link to another app or social site. This is just one reason why it's so good to focus on what your child is posting, rather than where they are posting it!
How To Set Your Child's Posts To Private
Changing posts from Public to Private can currently not be done from Desktop, so from the Instagram app on iOS:
- Go to your child's profile by tapping the person icon
- Tap "..."
- And turn on the Private Account setting.
Private Posts: What You Need To Know
1. Private posts your child — or their friends — share to other social sites may be visible to the public depending on their privacy settings for those networks.
For example, a post your child's friend shares to Twitter that was set to private on Instagram will be visible to the all the people who can see their Twitter posts.
2. Once your child makes their posts private, people will have to send them a follow request to see their posts, their followers list, or their following list.
3. Follow requests appear in "Activity," (looks like a heart) where your child can approve or ignore them.
4. If someone was already following your child before they set their posts to private and your child doesn't want them to see their posts, they can block the person (how-to below).
5. People can send a photo or video directly to your child even if they’re not following them.
How To Block Someone On Instagram
To block someone:
- Tap their username to go to their profile
- Tap "..." in the top-right
- Tap Block
To unblock someone:
- Follow steps 1-2 above
- Tap Unblock
You can also allow someone to keep following your child, but block them from commenting on their photos and videos:
- Below Settings, tap Comments
- Next to Block Specific People, tap People >
- Enter the name of the person your child wants to block, then tap block next to their name.
To unblock someone from commenting on your photos and videos:
- Follow steps 1-2 above
- Tap Unblock next to their name.
Blocking: What You Need To Know
1. People aren't notified when your child blocks them.
2. When your child blocks someone, that person won't be able to find their profile, posts or story on Instagram.
3. Your child can block someone using the Instagram app on their phone or tablet, but not on a Desktop.
4. When your child blocks someone from commenting, it doesn't remove their previous comments. Your child can, however, manually delete comments (how-to below).
5. Someone your child blocked can mention their username on Instagram, but this mention won't appear in your child's "Activity" (looks like a heart). If your child blocks someone and then changes their username, they won't be able to mention your child unless they know their new username.
6. People who your child blocks can still see their likes and comments on posts that were shared by public accounts or accounts they follow.
Can My Child Delete Comments On Their Photos And Videos?
On your child's own posts, they can delete both their and other people's comments.
On other people's posts, they can only delete comments that they've written.
To delete a comment on iOS:
- Tap the comment bubble below the photo or tap any comment
- Swipe to the left over the comment you'd like to delete
- Tap the trash can icon
Are Photos My Child Is Tagged In Private or Public?
Whether or not a tagged photo of your child is Public or Private depends on that person's Privacy settings.
In terms of how photos your child is tagged in work on their own profile:
By default, when someone tags a photo or video of your child, it will automatically be added to their profile.
But they can choose to add photos manually.
When they do this, the photos will appear on their profile only after they approve them.
To manually select the photos that appear on your child's profile:
- Go to their profile and tap the person icon to get to your child's profile.
- Tap "..." in the top-right corner
- Select Tagging Options
- Tap Add Automatically or Add Manually
If they choose to add photos to their profile manually, they'll still be notified when someone tags them in a photo.
To add that photo to their profile:
They can tap on the photo, then tap their username and select Show on My Profile.
To hide a photo they're tagged in:
- Tap the photo
- Tap their username
- Tap Hide from My Profile then Done
They can add a photo back to their profile by:
Going to it, repeating steps 1-2 above and then tapping Show on My Profile.
Keep in mind that hiding a picture from their profile doesn't remove them from the photo itself!
What About Photos That My Child Tags Others In?
The photos your child tags others in are visible to anyone who can see the photo.
If your child's photos are public, anyone can see the photo and the person your child tagged will get a notification.
If your child's photos are private, only their approved followers can see the photo, and the person they tag in the photo will only get a notification if they're following your child.
Can My Child Remove Themselves From A Photo Someone Tagged Them In?
Yes, and no.
To remove the tag from a photo or post someone tagged them in:
- Tap on the photo
- Tap their name
- Tap More Options > Remove Me from Post
- Tap Remove
This removes the tag, not the actual photo!
How Do I Know What Photos My Child Has Been Tagged In?
You'll need to login into your child's account and go to their profile and tap the person icon.
Who Can See The Photos My Child Has Been Tagged In On Their Profile?
This depends on your child's privacy settings:
Posts are Public: Anyone can see photos your child is tagged in on their profile
Posts are Private: Only confirmed followers can see photos your child is tagged in on their profile
Who Can See My Child's Profile And Photos On The Web?
If your child's profile, and therefore their photos, is set to public, anyone will be able to see their profile by visiting instagram.com/[their username] on the web.
If your child's profile is set to private, their photos will only be visible to people logged into Instagram who they've approved to follow them.
Remember that even private photos can be screen-capped and shared on other social sites, texts, etc. by anyone who follows your child!
Who Can See My Child's Saved Posts?
Only your child can see the posts they've saved. When they save someone's post, that person is not able to tell that your child has saved it.
This also means that your child will not know if someone else has saved one of their posts!
Are My Child's Comments And Mentions Hidden?
If your child has a private profile and mentions someone, by tagging their username, who isn't one of their approved followers on a photo or video, the person mentioned won't get a notification in the You (looks like a person icon) section of Activity (looks like a heart icon) and they won't get a push notification.
If your child has a private profile and leaves a comment on a photo that a public Instagrammer uploaded, their comment will be visible and their username will be clickable below that photo.
If your child has a private profile and sends a photo or video to a specific group of people with Instagram Direct, basically private messages on Instagram, only people who follow the private profile will be able to see the comments or mentions associated with that photo/video.
That's a lot of "if, then-s", isn't it? Hang in there! And remember to flip all of these scenarios!
I.E.: If someone else mentions or writes a comment about your child on Instagram, these "rules" apply for what your child will see and be notified about and what they won't!
Who Can See When My Child Has Liked A Photo?
When your child "likes" (clicks a heart below) a photo, it's visible to anyone who can see the post.
Their followers may also see your child's username below the photo they've liked, no matter how many likes it has (example: [their username] and 10 others).
Who Can See My Child's Posts If They Use Hashtags?
If your child's account is set to private and they add a hashtag to their post, the post won't appear publicly on the corresponding hashtag page. Only their approved followers will be able to see your child's posts on hashtag pages or in messages.
Remember that even in a private account, your child has access to any hashtag pages and is able to see and click into the hashtags that the people who they're following are using.
How Do I Know If My Child Has Cleared Their Instagram Search History?
Instagram saves searches in Search & Explore to make it easier for your child to find their favorite accounts and hashtags again quickly.
To clear their search history, your child just needs to:
- Tap the person icon to go to their profile
- Tap "..." in the top right
- Scroll to the bottom then tap Clear Search History
Searches they clear may reappear in their history if your child searches for them again.
But your child can also hide individual accounts, hashtags or places to permanently remove them from their search history and keep them from reappearing:
- Tap the magnifying glass icon and then tap the search bar at the top of the screen
- Below Top or Recent, tap and hold the search you'd like to hide from your history
- Tap Hide
So this is a lot of information! Instagram was the first app my oldest asked to use and the thought of digging in this deep into every new app she asked about, honestly? Made me tired!
And more than a little worried that I'd miss something!
So I did research another, different way to approach apps and I detail this in my engaging New App Series that's linked below in "Related Blog Posts." I hope that it's helpful to you!
The concept of creating a healthy relationship with technology was born of my bestselling book Kindness Wins, a simple guide to teaching your child to be kind online. Because a world filled with tweens who use the Internet even just a 'lil more kindly? Is a better one, as far as I'm concerned.
Free Resources For You:
Read the first chapter of Kindness Wins for free by clicking right here or on the button below.
AUTHOR: GALIT BREEN
Hi, I'm Galit. (*My name is pronounced guh-leet + means little waves, like in the ocean.) I give you the tools you need to let your kids benefit from the amazing things the online world has to offer them and create a popsicle dripping, chapter book reading (in one sitting!), leaf crunching childhood that they deserve. Welcome, I'm so glad you're here. What can you expect from me? I spill it all right here.