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Instagram offers parents a guide for children's social safety

If you want to help your kid have a positive experience on Instagram, read on.
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NurPhoto via Getty Images

Using smartphones and other digital devices in a less obsessive, more mindful way has been a hot topic of conversation with consumers and tech companies alike. Instagram, probably one of the most addictive social networks around, recently launched a new feature to help users analyze how much time they spend on the network, and today the company has published a new guide specifically focused on helping parents help their kids use the service responsibly.

The guide is written primarily for parents who might not already be familiar with Instagram -- but given how complicated managing social media accounts has become, almost anyone would benefit from a little refresher. Instagram focuses on three key things for parents to be aware of and manage: privacy, comments and time spent. Privacy is pretty straightforward -- it focuses on who can see an account and interact with it when the account is public rather than private.

Instagram has dramatically revamped how much control users have over comments on their account over the past year, so the second section focuses on those many options. Currently, you can choose specific groups that can comment on posts, remove comments entirely, block specific people from viewing or leaving comments, report abusive comments and automatically filter comments that Instagram deems potentially offensive.

Finally, the time spent tools refer to Instagram's recent controls to make you aware of just how long you spend using the app. It shows how much time you spend in the app on average, with specific details for the past week. From there, you can set reminders when you pass a certain pre-set time limit and mute notifications for different amounts of time. The next versions of Android and iOS will include more detailed and granular features for managing time spent in apps, but having at least a few options in Instagram itself is a start.

For the parents who don't know Instagram or social media in general very well, there's also a glossary that defines common terms like block, comment, feed, IGTV, stories and more. All this info is certainly useful, but it all comes along with the requirement that you actually talk to your kid about how they use social media -- which, given how easily it can be abused, is a must these days.

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