Social networks, apps and games


Instagram is a picture and video sharing app. Users can post content on their profile grid or to their stories, which last 24 hours. You can follow your friends, family, celebrities and companies on Instagram. Instagram also has a live streaming feature.


Official age rating


Parent age rating

What do parents say?

Child age rating

What do children say?

At a glance

Kids use this to...





Expert view of the risks...


High Risk

Violence & hatred

Medium Risk


High Risk

Suicide & self-harm

Medium Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

O2 Guru top tip


On Instagram privacy settings

In settings, show your child how to make their account private and switch off location sharing.

Top tips for staying safe

Exploring apps, sites and games together is a great way to involve your child in the decision-making process.

Be positive about what you see, but also be open about your concerns. Ask them what they think is appropriate and what worries them.

If you decide it’s not appropriate, then make sure you explain your reasons why.

You might decide it’s ok for your child to use. If so, make sure you follow the tips below to ensure it’s as safe as possible. And work out a time when you’ll next discuss the app.

Help your child think about what they share online and who sees it. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline.

You might want to start by asking:

  • What kinds of things do you share online?
  • Should we share everything?
  • What shouldn’t we share?

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You wouldn’t give your number to somebody you don't know on the street. Is somebody online you don't know any different?”

Listen to their answers. And be positive and encouraging.

Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things, such as:

  • personal information, like names, emails, phone numbers, location and school names
  • other people's personal information
  • links to join private group chats
  • photos of themselves
  • photos of their body, such as sexual photos or videos.

Explain that you understand the internet is a great place to play, create, learn and connect. But remind them they can talk to you if anything upsets or worries them.

Reassure them that you won’t overreact – you’re just looking out for them.

And if they feel like they can’t speak to you, tell them to talk to an adult they trust, like a teacher or Childline.

Instagram has a selection of tips and advice for parents, including information on what the platform is, privacy and safety, and reporting.

Explore these with your child to make sure you both understand the features of Instagram.  

Your child might see something upsetting or negative on Instagram. If this happens, they might want to report, block or restrict content or another user. Explore these features together to make sure you're both confident about when and how to use them. 


Instagram has specific guidance on how to report inappropriate content, including posts and profiles. 


You can block other users on Instagram or stop people from commenting on your photos and videos. 


You can restrict other people on Instagram. This means they won't be able to see when you're online or if you've read their messages. If you restrict someone, their comments on your posts will also only be visible to them, unless you tap 'see comment'. You can approve comments if you'd like other people to see them, or you can delete or ignore them. 

And remember to let your child know that they can always talk to you about worrying things they see online.

It’s easy to change your profile to private on Instagram. This means only people you’ve approved will be able to see what you post on your grid and stories.

Instagram has guidance on how to change privacy settings.

You can explore these with your child and decide which ones are appropriate for you and your family.


Talking to your child

Having open, regular conversations with your child will help you to really understand and explore the online world together. Our tips and advice can help you start these conversations.

Talk about staying safe online

What children and parents are saying about Instagram

We've spoken to over 2,000 parents and kids to find out what they think.



What do children and young people dislike about Instagram?

• People you don’t know can comment on your posts, message you or follow you
• Sometimes you can see upsetting or inappropriate posts
• People write mean or bullying comments on your posts

I like that you can use it to communicate with friends and family. You do get some rude or distressing content posted on Instagram but you can report it immediately. Instagram always responds to what you've reported and tells you if what you reported was removed.

Girl, 14

What do children and young people like about Instagram?

• It’s a fun way to see what your friends, family and celebrities are up to.
• It’s easy to communicate with your friends
• You can follow pages with things you’re interested in
• Posting photos and videos in a creative way

I like the ability to easily be able to message friends and family, send them videos and pictures and more. You can easily post a comment or picture of yourself on your profile that anyone who looks on your profile (whether they're following you or not) can see.

Girl, 14



We asked parents about the following areas of Instagram:

Signing up

A little too easy I would say. I entered an old email address and then I was allowed immediate access, no confirming email, no security codes or anything. I did not have to enter my DOB or confirm my age at any point.

Father of three

It is too easy to sign up for multiple accounts which can then be used for trolling or bullying.

Dad of a 17 year old


Overall, parents thought it was easy to report unsuitable content and behaviour, and block people from contacting you.

I have reported inappropriate content before which is easy to do and was responded to quickly.

Mum of 14 and 17 year olds

Privacy settings

Most parents thought it was easy to change the settings so that your profile, account and location are private.

Fairly easy but you have to search through settings. It would be easier if it had its own security section at the top of the settings menu.

Father of three

I could not turn off location services on the app, but can do it using settings on my iPhone.

Mum of 15 and 17 year olds

Safety and support

You can find it if you hunt but it is not easily accessible.

Mum of a 9 year old boy

The advice needs to be more easily accessible in an easy to read format.

Dad of three

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