How to Set up Instagram Parental Controls

Restrict Instagram sensitive content and keep your kids safer

What to Know

  • Set your child's profile to private, remove or block followers, omit personal info in bio, hide stories, and filter comments.
  • Block specific user activity by tapping a user's profile, tap the three dots in the upper-right corner, and then tap Restrict.
  • Parents can manage accounts for children under 13. For teens 13 and older, use the built-in security features to protect your child's privacy.

Instagram is a popular and fun app for people of all ages, but it's also a place where virtually anyone can come across scams, explicit content, harassment, cyberbullying, and abuse. That's why it's important to set up Instagram Parental Controls before your kids encounter sensitive content.

Instagram Account Age Requirements

Many parents wonder if they can access their teen's Instagram account. According to Instagram, privacy laws forbid them to give anyone, even a parent, access to an account that belongs to an authorized account holder. An authorized account holder is any user who is at least 13 years old. If your teen is at least 13, you have to work with them to take several extra security and privacy measures across their account to help keep them safe.

If an Instagram user is under the age of 13, it must be clearly stated in the profile description that the account is managed by a parent or manager. If your child is under 13 and their account is not being managed by a parent or manager, you can report that the account belongs to an underage user to have it removed from Instagram.

A teenage girl looking at her smartphone.
Inti St Clair / Getty Images

Boost Your Instagram Parental Controls

Instagram doesn't have any parent-specific safety or security features built into the platform to help them oversee their teen's account. However, you and your teen can work together by taking advantage of the platform's general safety and security features (as well as best practices) to help prevent them from being exposed or falling victim to anything suspicious or abusive.

  1. Set your teen's profile to private, so only followers can see their posts and stories. New users who decide to follow a private profile must be approved first.

    Even if your teen tags their posts with a location tag or a hashtag, it won't be viewable by non-followers.

  2. Remove unknown followers. This doesn't block them; it simply removes your teen's posts and stories from their feed. If a removed follower tries to refollow and your teen's profile is set to private, they can be rejected.

  3. Avoid including personal information in the profile's bio description. A private account still shows a name, profile picture, bio description and website to non-followers. For this reason, it's important to make sure your teen refrains from including personal information like their address, phone number, social networking links, school, location and more.

  4. Filter out unwanted comments so they don't appear on posts. From your teen's comment settings (Profile > Menu > Settings > Privacy > Comments), you can turn on a general Hide Offensive Comments setting or use the Manual Filter setting to enter keywords you don't want to see. Any comments caught by these filters are automatically removed by anyone who tries to post them.

  5. Block comments from specific people. You can select Block Comments From and then search for people to add to this list in your teen's comments settings. Anyone who's added won't be notified that they're blocked from commenting on your posts or stories. When they try to leave a comment, it's only visible to them—not to your teen or to anyone else.

  6. Hide stories from specific followers. Stories can be hidden from any individual or multiple followers so they never appear in their stories feed or as an update on your teen's profile. This is useful if your teen shares stories that aren't appropriate for or applicable to particular followers.

  7. Use Close Friends when sharing stories. Your teen can use Instagram's Close Friends feature to create a list of people they want to share their stories with on a more private basis. This offers a similar solution to hiding stories from certain Instagram users by encouraging your teen to only share stories with the most relevant people.

  8. Restrict interaction with certain users. Tap the three dots in the top right corner of a user's profile and select Restrict. Only your teen and the restricted user can see comments the restricted user leaves on your teen's posts (until the comment is approved). Direct messages also show up as message requests, which can be approved or rejected before reading them.

  9. Block users on Instagram. Blocking a user is necessary if you don't want them to try to follow your teen or send them any direct messages. When your teen blocks someone on Instagram, their profile is completely hidden and inaccessible to that blocked user, even if they try to search for them.

  10. Talk to your teen about Instagram scams. There are several, like the Instagram money scam, that can be mistaken for legitimate account activity. Make sure you and your teen are aware of the most current scams on the platform and report any accounts that look suspicious. To report an account, tap the three dots in the top right corner of the user's profile (or direct message chat), then tap Report.

Was this page helpful?