If you have a dancer and an Instagram account I’m willing to bet you’ve seen a plethora of dance themed accounts or hashtags.
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I’m going to date myself here, but when I was Mads’ age (10) we didn’t have the internet. I was one of the last generations to experience adolescence without the heavy influence of social media. I was also one of the first generations ON social media.
Then I had kids and got old.
I’m not up on the Snapchat and I’m new to the twitter, but I do love me some Instagram. I have a personal account and an account for the brokedancemom site that I use to post pics of my kid dancing sometimes.
I see many posts in my dance mom chat groups on Facebook like
“Hey follow my kid on Instagram and we will follow you back!”
“Ok guys I did it and made (insert dancer name here) an Instagram! Follow us and we will follow back!”
Mads does not have her own account or any type of social media at 10 years old, were just not ready yet.
We do follow many dancers of the same age, some even younger who do have their own accounts.
I believe in “your kid, your rules.”
But with the internet comes creepers.
So far we have been lucky and I haven’t had any disturbing comments on any of my daughters photos that I post on my account.
But its very real y’all. In many of my dance mom chat groups on Facebook I see many other moms warning of accounts leaving DISTURBING comments on their child’s photos.
With this trend of dancers having Instagram accounts and the never slowing pace of the advancement of technology, it is critical that you and your dancer, and me and mine, know and follow important safety measures.
Here are just a few tips to keep your dancer and their account safe on Instagram.
#1. Make it private.
Many dancers are trying to get as many followers as possible which is more difficult to do with a private account. If you aren’t concerned with numbers or hashtags, this is the first and foremost thing you should do with your account.
Personally, my accounts are public. I have virtually no followers but for me its about connecting to other dance parents via hashtags. On my personal account I love to see the photos from competitions we’ve been to and if accounts are private those hashtags don’t work.
#2. Monitor and moderate the account.
My 10 year old can figure any app out almost instantly and doesn’t need my help. I guarantee this would go for Instagram also. I’m sure your kids can too. Even if they have all the posting and commenting totally under control without you, make sure you know what is going in and out of that account! Many dancer accounts have it in the bio that the account is ran/moderated by Mom just to warn creepers in advance.
If they have their own device, make sure you have the app on yours also. Login frequently and stay up to date with it. You need to know who they are communicating with.
#3. Avoid posting highly personal information.
Make sure your dancer understands that it is NEVER ok to share their address or phone number and other personal info that is just not necessary to provide to the masses. You can decide your level of comfort with what type of info you allow to be shared, such as studio, and cities/competitions you attend, but make sure your dancer knows what that level is. If you have an account most likely you are going to share personal information, we do without even realizing it sometimes. Be mindful of what you are presenting to the public.
#4. Never underestimate the power of the block button.
You do not owe strangers on the internet anything. If they are commenting or sending messages that make you or your dancer uncomfortable do not hesitate to block them and make them go away.
#5. Follow the account @dancers_safe
I learned about this account on Facebook. They post screenshots of sketchy accounts that are following and commenting on dancer accounts as well as fake accounts stealing dancer photos. There is strength in numbers and this account is a good ally to have.
#6. Don’t tag your location in real time (or at all).
I will usually tag a competiton photo after we have left the venue. If you have a sizable following, you don’t want to post a photo of you in a very public location as soon as you arrive.
#7. Use the comment filter or turn comments off all together.
Instagram has built in tools to help you keep your account safe and clean. Use them.
#8. Check to see who viewed their story.
Did you know you can do this? Just open the story from the account it was created on and swipe up. See someone regularly creeping from afar? Refer back to #4.
#9. Visit the parent tips page on Instagram.
Again, Instagram gives you tools. Check them out.
#10. Report the creepers.
Blocking someone only makes them go away for you. If they are creeping on your kid chances are they are creeping on others. This is a team effort. In addition to blocking, report them to Instagram. I’ve seen some comments that were reportable to the police. If you feel its warranted, do it.
Don’t take chances when it comes to your precious dancer!