Instagram is one of the most popular social platforms in the world. It was created in 2010 and firstly was used only for sharing square photos with close friends. In 20 years of its existence, Instagram evolved into a big community, with its own trends and influencers.
Instagram discovered a new stream of e-commerce and changed the marketing strategies of big and small brands. Nowadays it is hard to find a person who would not have heard about it and doesn’t have an account.
But along with all the fun, possibilities for inappropriate behavior and cybercrime have come as well. Let’s find out the main principles of staying safe and secure while using Instagram.
USE TWO-FACTOR AUTHENTICATION
To prevent account-theft, Instagram offers two-factor authentication (2FA) to its users. Even if you are not concerned about someone stealing your account, you still should use it. With this feature turned on a possible harasser cannot enter your profile without access to your phone, even if he has a valid password.
You can choose different ways of verifying access, but generally people choose authentication by SMS code or through popular verified apps like Google Authenticator.
USE PAID SERVICES WISELY
In order to promote their lifestyle blog or brand many people use paid services to gain likes and followers faster. Being not attentive while using it leads to different unpleasant consequences, including theft of your account. Always seek for a trustworthy service. The ones that are not worthy of attention usually claim that you must buy as many likes as you can at once, and offer only big numbers of likes or followers. Also a period of delivery, other than instant, is often a mark for scammers.
If you need to buy, for example, 20 likes on Instagram (or 200, or 2000) they must be delivered instantly. That defines a good service that will not fool you.
TURN ON PRIVACY OF YOUR ACCOUNT
By 2018, Instagram had hit a mark of one billion active users and this number continues to grow. By default, all this community can see your account. Protect your Instagram profile from unwanted viewers by changing your settings to private. This feature allows you to control who can see your updates and who can like your posts. When your profile is private, people have to send you follow requests, and only you can decide if you want to see this user among your followers. With this function on, people can communicate with you only after you confirm their follow requests. They can send you a message with the request, though.
IF SOMETHING BOTHERS YOU
It is not always possible to keep yourself isolated from inappropriate behavior on Instagram. But your own account has to be a safe space for you. When a particular user annoys or insults you, or you find his posts unfit for any reason, you shouldn’t leave it like that. You can deal with users and information that you find unwanted in a few ways:
- Restrict: this function hides posts, stories, likes and comments from a user that you choose without unfollowing him.
- Report: you fill the form, and Instagram receives the data about the content you find unsuitable, annoying or disturbing. Posts, comments, likes and profiles as well can be reported. If Instagram also finds this content inappropriate, the author of it will be suspended. Also this user will be blocked automatically.
- Mute: if Restrict is a little bit too much for you, you can mute a user. You will still follow this user and he will follow you too. But you won’t see his updates unless you visit his profile page. He will not find out that you muted him.
- Block: that feature blocks user’s ingress to your profile and updates. He will not be able to interact with you in any form until you unblock him. Instagram doesn’t notify the user that he has been blocked.
All those features are needed to provide a safe and positive space online. If you see any kind of disturbing information, propaganda, or other activity, hitting Report will help Instagram to fight inappropriate content more effectively.
You can use all these features on the Instagram mobile app. To block/mute/report a post or user, hit the three dots in the corner of the screen and tap the action you want to. If you want to report a comment, swipe left (IOS) or press and hold for a second (Android systems) to see an exclamation point symbol, then tap on it.
BE CAREFUL WITH THIRD-PARTY APPLICATIONS
Many apps can require your data for Instagram, like the ones that are used for planning your posts. Before approving any other app to use your data from Instagram, always think twice if you really need to use this app. Remember that with allowing to use this data, you provide third-party companies your personal information. Thus the information can be used for fraud.
To avoid unwanted sharing, getting likes from unknown users, Instagram formed a list of trusted apps, and it is possible for you to check on whether this app is on the list. To work with this feature you must use a web interface. Log in to your profile on the browser and hit the person symbol. Then press Settings (gear-shaped icon) – Authorized apps.
THE SECURITY OF PAYMENTS
In 2018, Instagram introduced new possibilities for e-commerce within the platform. Nowadays you don’t need to close Instagram to go shopping. Of course, the launch of such features has pushed the growth of cybercrime as well. To avoid theft or accidental purchase, you can add a passcode feature for your card linked to the profile. Go to Settings – Payments – Security Pin. Turn it on to have an additional safety for your bank account.
IF YOU ARE A PARENT
Being a parent was never a piece of cake, and as social media grows rapidly it didn’t become easier. There is a rule on Instagram that registration is allowed since the age of 13. But people often violate it and let younger children create their accounts. With the constantly growing impact of technological progress, you can’t stop this process. There are still ways to control it. Here are a few tips on parental control on Instagram:
- Make your child’s profile private and don’t allow them to change this feature without your knowledge.
- Look through the list of child’s followers and remove the strangers. Before doing that, ask your child about them – how they know each other and why did the child add this person.
- Disable the feature of geotagging. Stalkers love it, as it allows them to find out the location of a child’s school, home, or other places visited often. Also don’t let your child describe his or her whereabouts.
- Do not let your child share personal information, like a phone number or real name.
- Instagram can bring lots of fun to your kid, and he or she can easily spend hours within it. So schedule a timeline and make a list of conditions, when and how long your child can use the app (e.g. while riding in the car or after the homework is done).