Social networks, apps and games
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Threads from Instagram

Threads is a messaging app from Instagram that lets you keep in touch with your close friends. The ‘auto status’ feature automatically updates to show friends your location, battery level and network connection. You need an Instagram account to use the app.

12+

Official age rating

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Our safety ratings

Overall safety rating:

Our overall rating for Threads from Instagram

Average

Threads is a messaging app that’s similar to the chat that already exists in Instagram and Messenger but it’s designed to be just for ‘close friends’. You can choose close friends from the people you follow on Instagram. You can share photos, videos, messages and Stories. 

The app has an 'automatic status' feature that automatically updates to show your friends on the app where you are, such as 'home'. You can also set a custom status where you can add a specific address. We would recommend switching this off if you let your child use this app. 

You should also make sure to talk to your child about their followers on Instagram and set some rules around who they can talk to on Threads. 

Safety features

Only the people who are in your 'close friends' list can contact you on the app. The list is private and only you can see who is on it. 

As Threads is created by Facebook, you should make sure to check out the safety features available on Instagram and Facebook to help keep your child safe. 

Privacy & location

You can only be contacted by people who are on your 'close friend' list. However, as you pick these from your Instagram followers, you should chat with your child about who they are following on the app and make sure they're only talking to people they know offline, like friends from school. 

Threads has a status feature that shares your location with your 'close friends' on the app. This is switched off by default but you should make sure to talk to your child about the risks of sharing their location online. 

Reporting & blocking

There are no reporting and blocking tools in the app but you can report and block specific content via Instagram. 

Content

We didn’t come across anything inappropriate while exploring Threads. However, because it is a messaging app there is a risk your child could be sent something that upsets or worries them. 

O2 Guru top tip

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Turn off ‘automatic status’

Show your child how to turn off ‘automatic status’ to hide their location from other users.

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Top tips for staying safe

Sitting down with your child and exploring their favourite app or game is a great way for you to learn more about what they like to do online.

You can ask them why they like to use an app or play certain games, as well as who they’re talking to and what sorts of things they’re sharing.

You can also read our Net Aware reviews for tips on how to keep kids safe on popular apps, sites and games.

Just like the O2 Guru advice above, we think it’s best to turn off the automatic status feature.

Auto statuses share general information about where you are, like ‘at the cinema’ or ‘at home’. While they don’t automatically share addresses or the name of a place, there is the option to enter your own status, which could be specific information, like an address.

To help keep your child’s location private, we recommend turning this feature off. Why not explore this together and talk about why you think it’s safer to keep your location hidden?

You can find more information on how to add or remove a status on Instagram.

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

Use examples that are easy for them to understand: “You shouldn'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.

It’s important to remind your child that they can talk you, another adult they trust, like a teacher, or Childline about anything they see online.

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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

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