My son on Instagram

A couple of months ago, I showed my 10 year old son Jake how to use Instagram. I started messing with the program last year and I’m still trying to figure out how to use this for my business.

So I was on Instagram and my son asked me what I was I doing. I explained to him how the filters work, all the cool features and how you upload your photos to your profile.

After we did a picture together, I showed Jake how to see the photos of the people I follow. Then I made the mistake of leaving him alone with Instagram pulled up on the screen.

I went upstairs to put  away the laundry. I swear, it couldn’t have been more than 15 minutes.

When I got back downstairs, Jake greets me with this crooked smile and a “Guess what I did Mommy?” By the look on his face, I really didn’t want to ask but hesitantly responded with a  “I dunno, what?”

He looks at me with this huge grin and says “I Instagrammed my butt.”

My heart started beating fast. The only words I could get out were “Give me that tablet.”

I didn’t want to but I looked.  There it was for all the world to see – my son sitting upside down with a picture of his butt crack, with filters and all the cool features. There was Jake’s butt, smack in the middle of my Instagram profile page.

I went into full force mommy-freak-out mode and tried my best not to show my fear. I immediately deleted it from my account AND in the photos on the tablet. Oh crap … what have I done?

After a few deep breaths, I proceeded to tell Jake the story about social media and how many billions of people are connected to these programs. We talked about privacy and using appropriate photos when posting to stuff like Instagram or Facebook.

I mean, I teach this stuff for a living. If anyone is going talk to my son about social media, it should be me.

For the rest of the day we talked about social media, how it works and how I needed to be able to trust him to make good judgments about his posts. It was kinda weird at times, like maybe this was the warm-up conversation to the eventual sex talk that I’m so NOT looking forward to.

Talking to your kids about social media

Hopefully, you won’t have an Instagram incident to prompt you to have the big social media conversation with your kids.

By now, most parents know about talking to our kids about what’s OK to post and when something is inappropriate. They’ve read enough articles to learn how to discuss this with their kids.

But what else do you need to tell them? How can you help them develop safe habits as they start to get more and more connected to social media?

1. Oversharing

Social media is about sharing. If we couldn’t post messages to our connections then what’s the point of being on social networks, right?

As parents, you should realize that your kids will be doing the same activities that you’re doing when you’re on Facebook or Twitter. When you log on, you’re sharing your photos and updates to let your friends know what you did over the weekend.

Take a look at your social activity on your profile and multiply it by ten. That’s your kid on social media.

As you’re teaching your kids what’s acceptable to post, you’ll also need to explain when their sharing goes over the line. Let them know that social media is not the place to talk negatively about your friends or teachers.

Teach them to be careful with their words. It only takes one person to take a comment out of context and blow it out of proportion.

Talk to them about about how nothing really disappears on the interwebs. Even if they delete it, once it’s gone live and people have seen it, it’s out there.

Do your best to keep the lines of communication open with your kids about social media. Tell them if they ever have a question about whether to post something or not, to come to you first. Chances are, if they’re questioning the content of a message, it probably shouldn’t get posted.

2. Sharing passwords

As adults, we’ve been trained to keep our passwords closely guarded. Most kids don’t realize the harm sharing their passwords with their BFF can cause. Explain to your kids that while you may know your best friend wouldn’t do anything to their account, you never know who she’ll share your information with and what they’ll do.

And teach your kids about creating strong passwords. With the recent news of Heartbleed bug spreading, the earlier you can teach your kids how to protect their accounts, the safer they’ll be.

Take a look at this article about Top Notch Passwords to help them (and yourself!) create passwords that are hard to crack.

3. Privacy Settings

Let’s take a look at the top three social programs that kids use and how to set their privacy settings:


  • Walk your kids through the privacy settings section. You’ll find this information on the top blue bar within Facebook. To access this section and make changes, click on the lock icon.
  • Make sure all their settings – who can see my stuff, contact me or look me up – is set to friends. This will block their timeline posts from anyone who has not been accepted as their friend.
  • You’ll also want to mark all the settings in the Timeline and Tagging section to friends only. This will prevent people who are not their friends from seeing their timeline as well as who can see them when they’ve been tagged in a photo or a post.
  • Also make sure they set the Review Tags People Add to ON so they can approve a post or a photo that a friend tags them in.
  • And the last thing – have them adjust the Followers section to Friends. This will prevent anyone that they haven’t approved from seeing their timeline posts.


  • Unlike Facebook, Twitter’s feeds can be see by anyone, whether you’re following them or not.
  • The only way to keep your kids tweets hidden is to set their account to private by enabling the Protect My Tweets feature.
  • You’ll find this under your account in the privacy and security section. Click on the Privacy button to enable this protection.
  • When your kid sets this feature, Twitter requires manual approval of each and every person who may view your kid’s tweets.
  • For more details about this function, take a look at Twitter’s Help Center about Protected Tweets.


  • Just like Twitter, Instagram profiles can be viewed by anyone who is online.
  • To make your posts private so only approved followers can see them:
    1. Go to your profile by tapping on iPhone and Windows Phone or on Android
    2. Tap Edit Your Profile next to your profile picture
    3. Turn on the Posts Are Private setting and then tap Done.
    4. Once you make your posts private, people will have to send a follow request if they want to see your kid’s posts or their followers list. They’ll see the follow requests in their News activity section, which your kid can either approve or ignore.
  •  They’re also able to block someone even they already approved them. Once that person is blocked, they can’t view photos/videos or search for your kid’s Instagram profile.

Photo credit: geometrically locked

PS Have you signed up  for my Social Media with Strategy online course? It’s FREE and you’ll learn how to find your target audience, which social media program and how to create marketing messages that really connect with them.  What’s stopping you from learning more about how to find your inner social media-ness?