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What parents should know about Instagram

  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Published Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2013, at 9:37 p.m.

The picture-sharing app’s updated terms of service went into effect recently. Here’s what parents should know:

• Privacy: The only information required when signing up for Instagram is an e-mail address and desired username. By default, anyone can view the photos uploaded to Instagram. Privacy settings can be changed by going to account settings and tapping the gear icon on the Instagram page. Switch “Photos Are Private” to “on.”

The company, now owned by Facebook, changed user agreements so it can more easily share data with Facebook by moving all of Instagram’s data over to Facebook’s servers, according to the company.

• Geotagging: Instagram turns geotagging (putting your location on the photo) off by default, but it’s easy to accidentally turn it on. When uploading a photo, be sure to avoid tapping the “geotagging” button.

• Age-appropriateness: Instagram is not for children under the age of 13, but no one checks IDs, so a younger person could easily sign up.

• Blocking: Though there are tools for reporting/blocking users and inappropriate content, know that people will — and do — upload nude photos. There is an easy-to-use tool to block or report someone.

• Followers: Most advocates of child safety recommend that parents “follow” their children. You will have to make your own account.

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