Please Be Where Your Kids Share

1-7-2013 10-46-40 AM

I mentioned in a post a while back, that I’ve noticed a trend with younger kids and their sharing habits.  It looks like a good portion (of at least the tweens/teens I interact with) don’t use Facebook nearly as much as they are using instagram.  Even though instagram’s Terms of Service doesn’t allow for kids younger than 13 to have an account (just like most of the other social networking sites), many who are on instagram are younger than 13.

Some parents may not understand that instagram can be harmful for young kids, so I am here to educate you on some of the things that can happen on instagram, and why you need to be frequently visiting the places your child is sharing…

So a young girl I know on instagram posts this a few weeks ago…


So according the responses from this post on instagram, I was led to believe that this 12 year old girl hasn’t met at least a few of the people that follow her on instagram, even though her profile is set to private, so the entire world can’t see her images, clearly she has allowed people that she has not met access to her images.

That isn’t quite as concerning (although I would be concerned if I was her parent), the really concerning part came later when she posted this image…


So, now these people who she has never met (although they may even appear to be kids) have her full name, birthday, her siblings names, and what school she attends!!  Even though she never posted this information, her friends that DO know her posted it happily.

If her parent frequently shared information or in this case photos, they would see this pop up in their stream and instantly be concerned and require the child to take it down.  Then hopefully have a conversation about both A) not accepting requests from people you don’t know (even if they appear normal and kid like) and B) to never post or ask a question to which people will respond with personal information.

Kids these days have access to amazing technology.  Many kids have iPod Touches which have apps that allow this kind of sharing (even when they don’t have an actual cell phone).  I love that kids can access great tech!  I definitely encourage it.  Regular conversations about what is appropriate to post and not are key, but so is checking up on them regularly and being where they are online.  There is a reason for the age limits and it’s mainly because really young kids don’t have the understanding it takes to know what is appropriate to post and what is not.

Even if you aren’t into social sharing, your kids are.  You need to be where they are (although, I wouldn’t comment on their stuff very much… SO EMBARRASSING!!)  Be silent but be there.  Embrace the technology they embrace so you can keep them safe until they figure out how to keep themselves safe!

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I receive compensation if you make a purchase using the links.



About the author

Sarah Werle Kimmel

Sarah Werle Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 20 years of her career working as a Microsoft Certified IT Manager supporting over 100 small businesses. During that time she started Family Tech LLC to help families understand and manage the technology in their home. She has regularly appeared as a family tech expert on local NBC, CBS, ABC and FOX news affiliates, BYUtv and Studio 5, and has been invited all over the world from tech companies like Lenovo, Verizon, Microsoft, Dell, and Samsung. Find out more on her website


Click here to post a comment

  • Fortunately, my son spends most of his time on FB and we have a BOATLOAD of people watching him on there – both parents, both older brothers, two ministers, his youth group leader, and half a dozen Scout leaders. I feel comfortable that he isn’t going to get into much trouble there.

  • Another thing not mentioned in your article is the map function. I have friends of my daughters who enable the map, i could see where they lived and where they spent most of their time. This scared me, may children have been talked to about locations and ‘friends’. I quietly had a word and showed them what i could see, they quickly have changed their accounts to private and only accept people they know and took off map function.

  • Totally agree! And I’ve seen some of those same posts from my daughter’s friends on Instagram, some post “goals” for number of followers, etc. I do follow my daughter there, but not all her friend’s parents are there. When I see something suspect, I let the moms know and they do appreciate it…it takes a village and all that. Thanks for all your good tips here Sarah!