I block my children's friends on Instagram - this is why

Photo: Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock 

I block my children's friends from my personal Instagram account and I don't feel bad about it.

They're still in primary school, so I don't think they should have access to my daily musings, images and, often, sweary posts. My own kids aren't even on Instagram and don't see what I post - I definitely don't want my kids' friends telling them in the schoolyard.

Instagram is my outlet to vent about my life and when I see my kids' friends start following me, I instantly feel uncomfortable. I also don't think a lot of what I discuss, as an over-sharing blogger, is suitable for them to read at their young age.

As soon as a notification pops up that any of their friends have started following, I immediately block them and move on with my day.

When I see them next, I explain that while I think they're fantastic kids, the content I share on Instagram is for adults only.

Perhaps when they're older and my kids also have accounts, I'll reverse my decision, primarily to keep an eye on them all, but for now, they have no business knowing my business.

Founder of Beautiful Minds, provider of self-esteem and confidence workshops for pre-teens and teens, Marina Passalaris said there was nothing wrong with blocking kids from your personal Instagram account.

"At the end of the day, social media is like a mini home we carry around with us," Ms Passalaris said.

"It's up to each person to decide who they let into their home.

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"If what you post is not age appropriate for kids, then it's OK to block them - it's your responsibility to safeguard them."

She is a big believer that children should not be on Instagram, particularly in light of a raft of research linking social media to a rise in childhood anxiety, self esteem issues, addiction and suicide.

"I don't agree with us normalising the use of social media at a young age," she said.

"As parents we are making that behaviour okay and opening the way for them to become addicted and disengaged with the world around them.

"There are so many other clear rules in society, like when we are able to drive and the age we are able to drink and there are rules in place for when people are allowed to use social media, which is very damaging to young minds, and

we should adhere to those rules."

Instagram states in its Term of Use that you "must be at least 13 years old" to use its platform and it's a rule which should be respected and recognised – it's there for a reason. It's there to protect our kids.

Colin Anson, digital entrepreneur, and the CEO and co-founder of child image protection and photo storage solution, pixevety, said Instagram was a toxic app and children should not be exposed to it at a young age.

"They are not emotionally ready to deal with the resulting repercussions or consequences that arise from them using an adult designed online platform," Mr Anson said.

"The online world is even more dangerous to kids than the physical world these days due to its ability to touch and harm so many at scale.

"And many interactions on the app can be hidden from the watchful eyes of parents who generally don't get the platform's intricacies that cunning teenagers have already masterfully mastered."