For most parents Instagram seems simple enough to understand. Their teenagers post pictures or videos and their friends like or comment on them. Easy peasy. But there is most likely much more going on within your kid’s account. I conducted a spectacularly informal but still telling survey of parents. I asked them this: Did you know that your teen can text to individuals and create group chats privately within Instagram? I found that 8 out of 10 did not.
Yep, I thought so. Instagram has emerged as one of the more popular ways teens communicate on their phones using a feature called Instagram Direct. It’s easy to send messages, photos and videos to individuals or groups (up to 15 people), but it’s tricky to find the message feature if you don’t know to look.
You can’t get to Instagram Direct messaging on your profile page. That would be the logical place to look.
To go to the inbox on Instagram you’ll need to go to the home page by clicking on the home icon. You will see an icon at the top right that looks like an old school inbox. If there is a new message an orange number will appear (denoting how many new messages you have). Click on that to get to the inbox.
From here, users can start group chats or reach out to individual Instagramers. (As you can see. I’m very popular with lots of messages.)
Users can “unsend” or erase individual texts within their messages. They can also delete messages or group chats with no record left behind of the conversation.
An Instagram user can send anyone a message if their account is not marked as “private,” even if they aren’t following them. So this means someone can message to your teen even if they don’t know them.
If you regularly check your kid’s text you can now add Instagram messaging to your routine. Next up … Snapchat!
Here are some more posts I’ve written about social media: