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Instagram Safety tips

Looking after yourself on Instagram

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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Whether you use Instagram for posting selfies, sharing snaps of your dinner, or following the latest happenings of your favourite celebs, it’s undeniable how popular the app has become. It’s also really important to learn how to stay safe and secure on Instagram, as sharing photos with such wide reaching audiences comes with its own set of risks. 

So with that in mind, here are the app’s top privacy and safety features:

In this section

How to make your account private

When you post to Instagram, your photos and videos are publicly viewable by default. If you like, you can set them to private so that only followers you approve can see them. This is done slightly differently on every platform.

  • iPhone. Go to your profile. Tap the Settings icon in the top right hand corner, next to your username. Turn on the Private Account setting.
  • Android. Go to your profile. Tap Settings icon in the top right hand corner, next to your username. Turn on the Private Account setting and then tap the checkmark to save your changes.

Remember, even though your posts may be private on Instagram, if you post them to other social networks, they may be visible there. For example, if you post a picture to Twitter that was private on Instagram, it may still be visible on Twitter to your Twitter followers.

Security tips

  • For your password, use a combination of at least six letters, numbers, symbols and punctuation marks.
  • Make sure your email account is safe and secure.
  • Every time you use a computer or phone that you share with other people, log out of your Instagram account.
  • Be careful about using any third party apps (such as Insta-collage), as these may not be secure.
  • Never give your password to anyone else.

How to block someone

Blocking someone means they will not be able to view your profile or posts. To do this:

  • Tap their username to open their profile.
  • Tap the menu button beside there username.
  • Tap Block User.

If you want to unblock someone, follow the steps above and then tap Unblock User.

How to report a photo

If someone sends abusive posts to you or someone else, or posts an inappropriate or abusive post in their feed, you can report them to Instagram. You can do this by tapping the menu button at the bottom right of a post (on Windows Phone) or the top right of a post (on iOS and Android), and then tapping Report Inappropriate. You can also go to their profile, tap the menu button beside their username and choose Report Inappropriate.

If you don’t want to see the posts that someone sends you, there is an option to Ignore them, so they won’t be visible to you. To do this, tap on the menu button on a post they’ve sent you and choose Ignore Posts from this user. They won't receive a notificaiton that you've chosen to ignore posts they send to you.

Remember, if anyone ever sends you abusive posts that make you feel upset, scared, or theatened, talk to someone you trust about it. If you feel you're in danger, contact the Gardai.

Instagram Stories

Instagram offers users the ability to share a photo or a video, comlete with filters or doodles and post it to the 'stories' section of the app on the very top of the home page. This feature is only available on their mobile app, and not on the web version. 

To post an Instagram story, simply tap on the camera icon on the upper left part of the app. You can take a video or picture and post it to your story for the next 24 hours. Once you have a story posted, it will be visible to all your followers for the next 24 hours. If you want to delete a story you have already posted, simply open it by tapping on the 'Your Story' button in the stories section on the top of the app. All your stories will play out in the order you posted them. When you are on the photo or video you wish to delete, simply tap on the three dots in the lower right of the screen and tap delete.

You can also customise your story settings to allow you to hide stories from specific people who follow you. To do this, first open your profile page by tapping the user icon on the bottom right. Then, tap the settings gear icon on the top right of your profile. Then select 'Story Settings'. Here, you can customise who can see your stories and block certain people from seeing them.

Instagram Stories settings page.

Live video on Instagram Stories

You can also share live video with your followers on Instagram. Doing this will send a notification to your followers that you are broadcasting and also put a 'LIVE' icon in your Instagram Story for a time. To start streaming, simply tap on the camera icon on the upper left and slide over to the 'LIVE' option on the left. Using the story settings (as mentioned above) you can hide the stream from certain people. 

Instagram Sharing

You can enable comments for the stream and allow your viewers to comment or share hearts with you while you are streaming live. You can disable the comments if you wish.

If viewing another users live stream, you can report the video if you feel they are sharing something which is inappropriate. To do this, simply click on the three dots in the lower left and select one of the reasons for reporting it. 

Instagram Direct

Instagram Direct is the inbox for your private messages on Instagram where you can keep in touch with friends or groups. You can send text messages to friends or groups, or even send them Instagram Stories which will delete after the recipient has viewed them. When posting a story (as shown above) you have the option to post it into your stories section for the next 24 hours or else send the story directly to a friend. When you send it directly, they will only be able to view it once.

To see your inbox, simply tap on the paper aeroplane icon on the top right of the app.

Minding your Photo Map

Remember, Instagram can access your location, and your photos are searchable by that location. If you set your posts to private, this won’t be visible to either your followers or the public.

However, if you manually add your location to a private posts, your followers will be able to see it on your Photo map. You can remove any geo-tags that may have been posted by editing your picture, tapping the name of the location (under your username) and tapping remove location.

Disable your account

There are two options when it comes to getting rid of your Instagram account. You can temporarily disable it or permanantly delete it.

To temporarily disable your Instagram account:

  • Log into on a computer (you cannot delete on your phone).
  • Click your user name and hit “edit profile.”
  • Click the “Temporarily disable my account” option in the bottom right corner.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions

Delete your account permanently

  • Click here
  • Follow the on-screen instructions. You will need to know your password.


For further help, check out Instagram’s Help Centre here.

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Published Jan­u­ary 22nd2015
Last updated May 22nd2018
Tags instagram social media online safety
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