If your teen is using Instagram, there is a good chance that they also have a “Finsta”. A Finsta is a fake Instagram account. Many parents will freak out at this notion that their teen is trying to hide something from them, but most Finsta accounts are actually pretty benign.
Teens create fake Instagram accounts mainly to post junk. They don’t want to clutter up their MAIN Instagram account with memes or silly photos. They reserve the good pictures for their actual account and post everything else to their Finsta.
Finsta accounts can be pretty fun to follow, and I’m almost positive your teen has one. The best way to tell is to get on their phone and open the Instagram app.
Tap their profile image in the bottom right corner and go to their profile page.
At the top left of their profile page will display their current username. Tap that and a drop-down menu will appear.
If more than one account appears (like mine here) those are your child’s various Instagram accounts. Make sure you are following all of their accounts so you can check out what they are posting.
It really is easy to create additional Instagram accounts and other kinds of accounts.
If you have a parental control app like Bark, it will actually notify you if another account has been added to your child’s Instagram account. This is a great tool, to not only discover Finsta accounts, but if your child actually has a secret account they do want to keep hidden from you, you can discover it that way.
If your child knows you will be checking their phone, sometimes they will add an account during the day, and then remove it before handing the phone over at night. The same goes for extra Google accounts, snapchat, and more. Make sure if you are manually checking for additional accounts to do it at random times, and assign an appropriate punishment if they are found to be hiding something.
Setting the expectation that their phone is actually your phone, and you have the right to check their phone at random intervals, will go a long way. Make sure you are upfront and honest with your kids about exactly how you are monitoring them and have discussions about why.
Make sure you have a tech contract in place so when violations occur your child knows exactly what to expect as far as punishment goes. Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time! Teaching your kids choices and consequences will really help prepare them for the adult world.
So, all in all, if your kid has a Finsta, it’s really not a big deal. It’s just a way for them to have fun and not clutter up their actual Instagram account. It might even be a good idea for YOU to create a Finsta. You know to help you enter all those giveaways you don’t want to post on your main feed!
What you do need to be worried about is if your child is secretively creating additional accounts that they are trying to hide from you.
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Sarah Kimmel is a digital parenting coach and family tech expert. She has spent the last 16 years of her career 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 KSL News, 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 SarahKimmel.com