13 August 2020

What is Instagram Reels?

instagram article

Instagram has just launched a new video sharing feature called Instagram Reels. We explain what the new feature is and give you advice about how you can keep your child safe if they decide to use it.

What is Instagram Reels?

Instagram Reels lets you record and add effects or music to short 15 second video clips to share with your close friends and followers, a bit like TikTok.


You can access the feature directly through Instagram by swiping left on the homepage and selecting ‘Reels’. You can also explore and watch other people’s Reels through Instagram’s ‘Explore’ page.


The videos shown on the ‘Explore’ page might be created by popular influencers, celebrities or other people who have public accounts on Instagram.


You can interact with other people through Reels by liking and commenting on their videos.

Who can see the videos I post on Reels?

If you have a public account on Instagram, the videos you create using Reels might appear on Instagram’s ‘Explore’ page. This means people you don’t know might be able to watch, like and comment on the video you’ve shared.


If you have a private account the videos will only be seen by your followers.

Is Instagram Reels safe for children?

Reels is similar to other video sharing apps like TikTok or Snapchat and kids might want to use it as a way to communicate with their friends.


If your child uses Instagram or another video sharing app we’d recommend having a conversation with them about how they can stay safe using the feature.


Here are some tips that will help keep your child safe on the app:

Top tips

If you have a public account, Reels can be seen by people you don’t know. Make sure your child’s Instagram account is set to private so they can only be seen by their friends and people who follow them.

Check out our Net Aware Instagram review for more information on privacy settings that can help keep your child safe whilst using the app.

It’s important to talk to your child about what they’re sharing online and what type of videos they’re creating. Compare it to what they would be happy to share offline. Remind them that they shouldn’t share private things about themselves or other people, such as:

  • personal information, like emails, names, phone numbers, school names
  • photos of themselves
  • photos or videos of their body, such as nude photos


If an account is private, videos or images shared on Instagram can only be seen by their followers. Your child’s followers will most likely be made up of friends and people they know from other offline activities. But sometimes kids might let friends of friends or other people they don’t know follow them.

Set some rules with your child about who can follow them on the app and show them how to ignore follow requests from people they don’t know. You could also show them how to remove followers if they already have accepted requests.

If you decide it’s ok for your child to use Instagram Reels show them how to report or block in case they see something that worries or upsets 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.

Check out this post on Instagram Reels for more information about how the feature works.