What Every Parent Needs to Know About Instagram Safety
In 2019, Radcliffe "Ruddy" Roye embarked on a 20-mile journey through the woods of Virginia, to retrace the steps of 19th century slave rebellion leader Nat Turner. Roye was on assignment, and over 400 miles away from his home and his two boys in Brooklyn, New York — but his smartphone kept them connected through social media.
Roye's job as aNational Geographicphotographer can often take him to the most remote parts of the world. But through Instagram, he is able to keep his sons up to date on his adventures. At Instagram's Parent Safety Panel on Tuesday, Roye said that his sons regularly look at his Instagram Stories and ask him about his journeys. "Our relationship is based on me traveling and them seeing what I do," he said.
But like most parents, Roye said he and his boys, ages 13 and 9, are in constant negotiations about setting boundaries regarding what's appropriate for them to post online and when they should have their own phone. Roye says his 9-year-old, who does not own a smartphone, frequently peeks over his older brother's shoulder to see his Instagram feed.
"I consider it a partnership," he explained. "My [oldest] son considers it the key for him to relate with his peers."
Roye participated in Instagram's Parent Safety Panel alongside social media expert and author Ana Homayoun, Karina Newton of Instagram, and moderator Kate Lewis, Hearst Digital Media's senior vice president and editorial director. During the discussion, he opened up about other ways in which Instagram has been an asset to him and his family. He said that the transparent nature of the platform has helped expose his children to all kinds of relevant cultural issues, which allows them to have a more open dialogue in their household.
"Help kids figure out their why ... When you do that, kids actually start to filter themselves."
"We don’t have the bully conversation because through the culture it's already a topic of conversation. He's already prepared for the next level through Instagram," Roye said.
Kids dealing with bullying can make use of Instagram's private profile feature, noted Newton, Instagram's public policy manager. "When [you have] a private account, you can choose and approve all of your followers and anybody who sends you a direct message," she said.
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