Every Parent Needs to Know These 20 Things About Instagram’s Video Features
Long gone are the days of thinking that Snapchat was the only app that enticed kids and frightened parents with disappearing messages. Instagram has rolled out several new video features that are so well worth noting if you have a child at home who is online now or will be soon.
From the app description:
“Instagram is a community where you can capture and share the world’s moments simply and beautifully. We’re thrilled to introduce video on Instagram and bring you another way to share your stories.
When Instagram launched its video option, there was a 15 second time limit on the videos. Today, users can upload videos four times that length!”
Hmm … doesn’t sound so bad, does it? You can absolutely see why kids are flocking to this feature. This is NOT a reason to keep them away from it, but it IS a reason to get informed and to start talking to them about it.
12 things to keep in mind
- Videos can be recorded right in the app by tapping Video at the bottom of the screen and tapping and holding the red circle to start recording, and lifting your finger to stop recording—nothing fancy here; anyone can do this.
- Users can also upload videos that are already on their phones by tapping the Library at the bottom of the screen and selecting that video that they’d like to share—this can be both fun and creative or time-consuming and frustrating, depending on your kids.
- You can add filters, captions, hashtags, and locations to your videos once they are uploaded—filters and captions are super fun; hashtags and locations make your kids’ video super searchable.
- You can see how many times a video has been viewed right below the video (it has to be watched for more than 3 seconds to count as viewed)—this is a “vanity metric” but one that kids pay attention to. Try to notice how much value your child is putting on these kinds of numbers. It might be worth a discussion!
- You can also like and comment on people’s videos and see who has liked (or clicked the heart) and commented on videos—this means that if you’re monitoring, you need to click into comments to see how the interactions are going.
- You can turn the sound off of Instagram videos by pressing the volume buttons on your phone while a video is playing—so just because you don’t hear your kids watching videos, that doesn’t mean they’re not watching them. Ask them! Especially if they’re in the younger tween age group, they’ll tell you.
- If your account is set to Private, only your followers can see your videos—unless one of your followers shares your video on Instagram or elsewhere.
- You can’t tag people in Instagram videos, but you can tag them in comments and they will be notified—another vote for checking comments and tags, especially if your kids are new to the online world.
- You can report inappropriate videos on Instagram—teach your kids the right and wrong times to exercise this privilege. This is an important skill and right to have!
- Videos can be found in the Search & Explore field, the Featured video channels, and via hashtags—note how many more places they can be found than just your kids’ and their friends’ Instagram feeds!
- Different people see different things in the Search & Explore tab. It’s tailored to what the Instagram algorithm thinks you might like based on who you follow and the kinds of posts you like, comment on, and share—Interesting, no?
- To turn comments off, tap “…” then select Turn Off Commenting. Keep in mind that any keyword filters you've turned on will also apply to comments on your live video—Talk to your kids about times they may want to do this and, most importantly, WHY.
The good stuff
Easy access to video creation is a win in my book. It’s:
- A great way to connect
- And it gives kids a chance to use their voice and express themselves
And the bad (with Tech + Parent notes included)
It’s important to note that just like anything else online, videos can be easily shared to other apps and via email.
Tech note: Kids can simply press the “…” on the top right of the screen, tap on “Share,” and select where they’d like to share the video.
Search history clearing
It’s also really easy to clear searches in Search & Explore, meaning that you can’t count on checking that to be your Tell All for your kids’ Instagram activities.
Tech note: Kids can just tap the “…” or the gear symbol in the top right, scroll down, and choose “Clear Search History.”
Accounts, hashtags, and places can also be easily removed from the search history by tapping the Search icon at the top of the screen; it looks like a magnifying glass. Then, below “Top” or “Recent,” kids can tap and hold the search they’d like to hide from their history, and then tap Hide.
Parent Note: Discuss with your kids why they shouldn’t do this. Be as open and upfront with them about your reasons as you want them to be with you. This is the right time to discuss consequences for deleting search histories.
Comments on Instagram can be dicey and video opens the door to more things to comment on and feels very personal.
There are risks of showy videos, videos taken of or made about people without consent, and some inappropriate content.
It has been noted that Instagram users often “curate” or pose their content to make their lives look great, this is true in video form, too.
This takes time and creates an undue focus on perfection and a warped sense of comparing our “bloopers” to others’ “highlights.”
Each and every one of these positives and negatives are good to both note and to DISCUSS with your kids. They need your help to muddle through all of the above!
To help guide these conversations, I have a free guide for you that covers 9 things you can TODAY to keep your kids safer online. Get it RIGHT HERE.
Galit Breen is the author of Kindness Wins, a simple, no-nonsense guide to teaching your kids how to be kind online; the TEDx Talk, “Raising a digital kid without having been one”; the online course Raise Your Digital Kid™; and the Facebook group The Savvy Parents Club. She believes that you can let your kids be online and still create a grass-beneath-your-bare-feet childhood for them. Get her guide with 9 things you can do TODAY to keep your kids safer online for free RIGHT HERE.