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

At a glance

Kids use this to...

Play

Create

Learn

Connect

Expert view of the risks...

Sexual

Medium Risk

Violence & hatred

Medium Risk

Bullying

Medium Risk

Suicide & self-harm

Medium Risk

Drink, drugs & crime

Medium Risk

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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What you should know

 

It's designed for your close friends - but this can be anyone you choose

 

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 choose your close friends from the people you follow on Instagram, so what you see will depend on what your friends send you. 

 

It can tell people where you are at all times

 

The main thing to watch out for is the ‘automatic status’ feature. This feature automatically updates to show your friends where you are or what you’re doing, such as ‘at home’ or ‘at the cinema’. But you can also set your own custom status, which could include an address or specific place.

 

It’s important that children and young people don’t share their location or personal details online in case people they don’t know see it. Even though Threads is made for close friends, we think this feature should be turned off for maximum safety.

 

Check out our top tips for staying safe on Threads from Instagram below.

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.

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.

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.

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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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