How to Monitor Instagram for FREE!
Before you read this, say to yourself “I am the parent.” (and I pay for the phone)
Many of you reading this are going to think this is an invasion of privacy, we should trust our kids, we need to give them a chance to grow up.
However, until around age 25, that fancy part of our brains called the prefrontal cortex, is not fully developed. This means that the decision-making abilities and thought processes don’t work like they should. Adolescents make choices without thinking about consequences and often engage in riskier behavior. The reward center of the brain leads the way — not reason.
“Although parents want to treat them like adults and believe that their adolescents are fully grown and should know better, they need to remember that many abilities are still developing and maturing.” (Michele L. Brennan, Psy.D)
So if you have a child using Instagram, be sure you have an Instagram account as well.
The easiest (and free) way to monitor it, is to stay logged into their account through the Instagram app on your phone. Instagram enables you to be logged into up to 5 accounts at one time.
By staying logged into the account, you can see friend / follow requests, direct messages (DM), and glance at the people or businesses they are following and engaging with regularly. You receive the same notifications that they do. Does it mean you talk about everything you see? Noooo. It just means you’re watching, and if you see something alarming, you can have a conversation with the child. You’re as much of a positive force as you are a deterrent. (kind of like the flashing porch light when you were saying goodbye after a date)
When your adolescent first joins Instagram, they are going to look to other people for social cues about what to post, what not to post, how to comment. As the parent, you want to be leading this train. Even though they won’t admit it, they will look to (you) your account for what is right and wrong. If you’re not using the app, who are they watching?
If you make this monitoring a condition for your adolescent joining Instagram, you’re building a relationship that will extend beyond the device and the Instagram account. It’s not about trust or distrust, it’s about teaching them how to use a power socializing tool in a positive way. And it’s giving you a tool to connect with them as they get older. That’s good stuff.
See the short video below for a summary about monitoring – and this is FREE.
If you’d like to learn more about the prefrontal cortex, click here to read this article from Michele. L. Brennan, Psy.D.
You got this!