According to the Pew Research Center, as of May 2013, 91% of American adults have a cell phone, and 34% of American adults own a tablet computer. And now, for the first time, more than half (56%) of the American population owns a smartphone. This change has been directly tied to the evolution of pictorial side of social media because smartphones come with cameras and enable easy sharing of pictures and video.

Instagram (now owned by Facebook) is a free photo sharing app that allows users (age 13 and above) to take photos and 15-second videos with their mobile phones, apply an optional “filter” to the image and quickly share them with friends.

Fact: Instagram users upload on average 40 million photos to the site each day – from Nielsen Published: 06/04/2013

Facebook and Instagram are Different

Although Instagram is owned by Facebook, the services have different policies and different terms of service. For example, while both Facebook and Instagram require users to be 13 years of age or older, Instagram doesn’t ask for a user’s date of birth on signup, though anyone reported and found to be under 13 can have their account deleted.

With Facebook, you can tag anyone and you are notified when you’re tagged even if the person tagging isn’t your friend, Instagram has a different policy in that it only notifies you if the person is posting publicly or if you are following them.  Here is Instagram’s privacy policy and here’s Facebook’s Data Use Policy.

Parent Tips:

  • Make sure that your teen’s profile and photos aren’t out there for everyone to see. If their Instagram profile isn’t set to “private,” it should be. This will ensure that only approved friends will see their photos. Learn more about Instagram safety and security through their help center.
  • Make sure your teen is using the option of turning off location so that people don’t know where they were when their photos were taken.
  • Turn off “Auto Add” so that you get to approve who adds or tags you in photos.
  • Report or flag any photo or comment that you consider to be inappropriate for review by Instagram staff
  • Talk to your kids about what is and isn’t appropriate to photograph, share and pass around to others on any social networking website.

Instagram Tips for Parents (Source: Instagram)
What Should Parents Know About Instagram? (Common Sense Media)
A Parent’s Guide to Instagram (Source: Connect Safely)
Instagram Adds “Photos of You” Tagging Feature: How To Plus Privacy Tips (Source: Larry Magdid)
Report Something (Source: Instagram)