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How To Protect Your Kids' Privacy On Instagram If They're Avid Users

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It's hard to keep track of every last social media app. It seems like there's a new one announced every other day. If a new one isn't coming out, then an old one is getting updated with a brand new set of features. It can get overwhelming sometimes, especially if you're trying to keep track of what your kids are doing on their phones, as well. It's scary to think about your child having unfettered access the vast expanse that is the internet. Thankfully, there are ways to protect them while still allowing them to use their various social media apps — and what's more, it's even easier than you think to protect your kids' privacy on apps like Instagram.

Instagram itself has a whole website dedicated to helping people make their accounts safe, including a section specifically designated for parents. It helps to break down the essentials that every parent needs to know about keeping their kids' privacy in tact on Instagram. It even explains how the photo sharing service works for those parents who aren't as tech savvy as they'd like to be.

Unless you're Michael Phelps posting pictures to your baby's personal Instagram account, you're probably worried about strangers viewing your child's posts. Instagram encourages parens to "make sure that only approved followers can see your child's posts" by setting their account private. This is the first, and most basic, step a parent can take when ensuring their child's privacy online. Making an Instagram account private ensures that strangers won't be able to view that user's photos.

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An Instagram employee takes a video using Instagram's new video function at Facebook's corporate headquarters during a media event in Menlo Park, California on June 20, 2013. AFP Photo /Josh EDELSON (Photo credit should read Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

If another user would like to access to a private account, they will have to send a request. This request can be accepted or ignored at you or your child's discretion. This simple precaution is easy to execute. Under the settings tab on your child's profile there is a Private Account option that just needs to be switched on.

Another important step that many parents may overlook is the ability to prevent tagged photos of your child to show up unless they are manually approved. Anybody can tag you in a post on Instagram, whether or not you even know them. Since you can't prevent people from tagging your child in their posts, you must make sure you stop them from being displayed. This safety feature can be turned on by clicking the square icon with a person inside of it on the right hand side of your profile page. Click the three tiny black dots that appear in the upper right corner, select tagging options, then click the Add Manually option.

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Even if your child's account is set to private, parents should also disable their children's location services on Instagram. Nobody needs to know your child's exact location. (The exception obviously being mom and dad.) The second icon to the right on the profile page will take you to a map that shows exactly where somebody was when they posted a photo. Once the map appears on your screen, tap the edit button in the upper right hand corner. This will allow you to remove the location from one or all of the pictures posted to your child's account.

These are three simple steps that will help keep your child safe while they use social media. It also never hurts to have an open dialogue with your kids about internet safety, as well as establishing some ground rules on how to use their social media apps.