How To Be Safe On Instagram

Instagram provides several security features and safety measures to ensure a positive and secure user experience.

Instagram have become an integral part of our lives, allowing us to connect, share, and express ourselves creatively. Instagram is one of the most widely used social networks in the world, with around one billion active users. 

It is particularly popular in countries like India and the United States. In fact, there are about 201 million Instagram users in India and 157 million in the United States. 

Instagram is popular among young adults – especially with people in their late twenties and thirties. According to Statista, as of January 2023, about 31 percent Instagram users were between the ages of 18 and 24. Around 30.3 percent of users were between the ages of 25 and 34. There were also many users, about 15.7 percent, who fell into the 35 to 44 year age group. 

In this article, we will delve into Instagram safety and explore the various security features and safety measures provided by the platform. 

Utilize Privacy Settings

Instagram offers a range of privacy settings that allow you to control who can see your posts, comment on them, and send you direct messages. Adjusting these settings can help you maintain control over your content and limit unwanted interactions.

Private accounts are ideal for individuals who value privacy, control over their audience, and sharing content with a more limited group of trusted followers.

To make your account private:

  1. Click menuMore in the bottom left, then click Settingssettings.
  2. Click Who can see your content.
  3. Below Account privacy, click to tick the box next to Private account.
  4. Click Switch to private to confirm.

Enable Two-Factor Authentication

Enabling two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your Instagram account. By linking your account to your phone number or email address, you will receive a unique code whenever you attempt to log in from a new device, ensuring that only you can access your account.

To turn on two-factor authentication:

  1. Click menuMore in the bottom left, then click Settingssettings.
  2. Click Privacy and Security from the menu on the left.
  3. Scroll down to Two-factor authentication, then click Edit Two-factor authentication setting.
  4. Choose one of the three security methods you want to add and follow the on-screen instructions.

When you set up two-factor authentication on Instagram, you’ll be asked to choose one of three security methods:

  • Authentication app: This method is recommended because you can add multiple devices to receive codes. 
  • Text message: It will send a login code to your mobile number.
  • WhatsApp: First, enable the text message security method. Then, you can also use WhatsApp to receive login codes.

Filter and Hide Offensive Comments

You can add words, phrases, numbers or emojis that you don’t want to see in comments and message requests to your list of Custom words and phrases. These will be hidden from comments in posts you share, message requests, or both.

By enabling this feature, you can create a safer and more positive environment for yourself and your followers.

To hide offensive words in comments:

  1. Click menuMore in the bottom left, then click Settingssettings.
  2. Click How others can interact with you on the left.
  3. Click Manage comment settings below Comments.
  4. Enter specific words, phrases, numbers or emojis you want to hide in the text box. Click Submit to save the list. Note: Separate each entry by a comma.

Manage and Restrict Interactions

Instagram allows you to manage and restrict interactions with other users. You can block or report accounts that engage in harmful behavior, ensuring that they can no longer interact with you or view your content. 

Additionally, you can limit direct message requests to only receive messages from people you follow, reducing the risk of unwanted contact.

To manage hidden message requests:

  1. Click send or messenger on the left.
  2. Click requests next to Messages in the top left, then click Hidden Requests.
  3. Click Delete all at the bottom to delete all hidden message requests or click the message thread you want to open.
  4. Click a message to view. From here, you can click:
    • Block and follow the on-screen instructions.
    • Delete and click Delete again to confirm.
    • Accept. The conversation will be moved to your main messages folder.

You can also restrict users. They won’t be able to see when you’re online or if you’ve read their messages.

Keep Your Content Limited

Be mindful of the content you share on Instagram and keep it limited to what you are comfortable sharing publicly. Avoid sharing personal information such as your address, phone number, or sensitive financial details. Remember, once something is shared online, it can be challenging to completely erase it from the digital world.

Be Wary of Third-Party Apps

While there are many third-party apps and services claiming to enhance your Instagram experience, exercise caution before granting them access to your account. You shouldn’t use apps that offer likes and followers. Some non-Instagram apps offer likes or followers in exchange for your Instagram login details. None of these services are affiliated with or endorsed by Instagram, and you shouldn’t use these apps or let anyone else access your Instagram account.

Some apps may compromise your account’s security or violate Instagram’s terms of service. Stick to official Instagram features and trusted apps for added safety.

Report Inappropriate Content

If you come across any content on Instagram that violates the platform’s guidelines, such as explicit or abusive content, make use of the reporting feature. Reporting inappropriate content helps keep the community safe and contributes to a healthier online environment.

To report someone:

  1. Click their username from their Feed or story post, or click explore and search their username to go to their profile.
  2. Click more actions next to their username.
  3. Select Report, then select the type of account you want to report and follow the on-screen instructions.

If you are being harassed or bullied, you can report the bullying and may also want to block the person bullying you.

By staying vigilant and proactive, we can make the most of our Instagram experience while prioritizing our safety and well-being.

Test Your Understanding by taking this How To Be Safe On Instagram

It is safe to share your personal information, such as your full name and address, on your Instagram profile.

Setting your Instagram account to private ensures that only approved followers can see your posts.

It is safe to click on any link shared in Instagram direct messages.

Creating a strong and unique password for your Instagram account is not necessary.

It is safe to accept friend requests or follow requests from strangers on Instagram.

Instagram provides features to filter and hide inappropriate comments on your posts.

It is safe to share your current location in Instagram posts and stories.

Reporting inappropriate or abusive content on Instagram helps maintain a safer community.

Instagram does not provide any options for securing your account with additional verification methods.

It is safe to download and use third-party apps that claim to increase your Instagram followers or likes.

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Media Literacy Team
Media Literacy Team
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