The National Cybersecurity Alliance together with Microsoft carried out research about the online safety attitudes and behavior of families. Both children and their parents were asked about their online activities, the problems they face, and how families worked together. Often parents had no notion about what their kids were doing online.
According to the study, about 60% of teen internet users have some online accounts that their parents are absolutely unaware of. Only 28% of parents think that their kids have secret accounts.
And this is where you should be alarmed as one of the secret accounts your child may have is a finsta. Finsta is a fake Instagram. Teens call such accounts spam accounts.
What is a finsta account?
Instagram is one of the most popular social networks among teenagers.This is the place where they share pics and videos with their friends and classmates. Many of them have hundreds of followers. They thoroughly select what pictures to post in order to gather more likes that indicate their friends’ approval.
A finsta is another Instagram account that is much more private. It is used for sharing photos with just a few best friends. Most finsta accounts have less than 50 followers. This is where teens share spontaneous and silly pics and don’t weed out the info as much as they do for their main Instagram account.
Finstas shot up last year when Instagram allowed its users to create and link several accounts. Before finstas, the users had to create a totally new account and log off and log on to switch between them.
Now they can create and manage up to 5 different accounts under one single profile. Each account has a different email, username and profile information, but the user can post photos to all these accounts simultaneously by simply clicking back and forth.
Why do teenagers create finstas?
Social media is all about performance. On Instagram, teenagers post many pics of their parties, interesting events, and their perfect faces. No one there will ever post a bad moment or a stupid selfie.
Finstas give teenagers a chance to get away from the popularity contest that they permanently face on Instagram. They don’t have to take care of their followers on these accounts and can post whatever they want, as the info is shared with just a few close friends.
Many teens fill up their finsta or spam accounts with silly selfies and funny memes. Some older teenagers use such accounts for hiding their activities from teachers and parents. Such finsta accounts can contain secret photos from parties with alcohol and drugs – the things that a teenager would never want his parents to learn about.
How to find out if your child has such an account?
The answer is simple: just talk to them, it’s the best way. Parents can carefully mention finsta accounts at dinner. Ask your child if he or she has ever heard about such accounts and if any of their schoolmates have them. After that continue the conversation according to the circumstances. The least thing that such conversation can do is to show that you are aware of such type of social media, and this may surprise them.
You can see if there is another account by checking your kid’s Instagram account. Open their page, go to their profile, and click on their username at the top. You will see a list of accounts if they have linked them up.
After having such a conversation, parents and kids may make up their mind to delete additional Instagram accounts. This can be especially useful for young teens that are still newbies at Instagram and haven’t learned all the security tactics yet.
It may be a much more tricky thing to find a finsta account of an older teen. A teen who posts secret photos may create an entirely separate account that is not even linked to the same email address. Face the truth: when older teens are motivated they may find out all the necessary information to learn how to hide their private photos.
Speaking with teens about finstas
If you find out that your child has a finsta, no need to panic. Most of these accounts are nothing more but a storage for silly photos and funny pictures. Still parents need to talk to their kids and remind them some basic security rules, such as:
- Even your best friends can take screenshots of your private photos and share them with the world.
- Nothing can remain in secret forever, and sooner or later your friends will start discussing your private photos with each other and thus this info will get to the teacher.
- When you toggle between 2 and more accounts, you can accidentally post a questionable picture to your main account.
Although finsta lets teenagers get rest from the social contests, they still have to be careful of what they post online. To keep a finsta with alcohol and cigarettes is never a good idea. Teens should be thoughtful of what they share even with their best friends.